Types of Tests for Alzheimers
- Several tests and evaluations will be given to a patient to rule out other illnesses or disease that may have some, or all of the same symptoms, as Alzheimer's. There are medications that can cause, what appears to be dementia in some patients, so the prescriptions and over the counter medicines that are being taken on a regular basis will also need to be evaluated, in order to rule out the possible side effects they may have on an individual.
- When evaluating a patient, a full medical history will be done. This will include any known previous and present illnesses and diseases as well as current symptoms. The names of all medications that the patient is currently taking will be noted. It is advised to have a family member with the patient to confirm or deny any questions that may be asked, and to give insight into changes they have witnessed in the patient.
- A thorough physical examination will take place at the evaluation. These tests will include checking the patients hearing ability, as well as looking inside the ear for any infections or irregularities. The patient will be given a vision test and also may be checked for irregularities behind the eye that may cause vision problems. Blood pressure will taken to make sure it is within the normal range, and pulse will be noted for irregularity in heartbeats, along with beats per minute falling into the normal range.
- Laboratory tests will be taken to rule out other causes that may have similar symptoms as those suffering from Alzheimer's. These tests would be performed on blood and urine samples given by the patient. These tests can determine if the Thyroid and Liver are functioning correctly, and will also detect any blood counts in white and red cells that may lead to another illness. One of these in particular will include finding out the patient's glucose level. Recent information releases on the Alzheimer Information Site, reports that there may be a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's.
- Neuropsychological testing will be preformed to determine the patient's memory and problem solving abilities. Tests will also be done on coordination and motor skills. The patient may be asked to perform simple tasks, both physical and abstract thinking, to determine their level as it is pertained to their age. This is not an IQ test, but rather a mode of distinguishing symptoms as they are related to ones every day activities.
- The final test that may be performed on a patient is a CT or MRI scan. This test is not always done, but is beneficial in ruling out brain tumors or blood clots in the brain. Also it can help determine if a past injury has caused damage to a portion of the brain that may now be causing symptoms of Alzheimer's, and rule out any other irregularities that maybe causing problems in other areas of the body.
- The testing that is done is in an effort to rule out every possible cause of symptoms that may be occurring. A diagnosis of the probability of having Alzheimer will only be confirmed when this has been done. A diagnosis of the patient possibly having the disease will be given if all the other causes could not be ruled out. The only definitive diagnosis occurs after death once the brain tissue has been examined.