How Alzheimer Is Diagnosed? Best Health Guide 2023

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    How Alzheimer Is Diagnosed? Best Health Guide

    Coping with Alzheimer’s disease is a challenge not only for those with the disease, but also for their families and loved ones. The causes of Alzheimer’s are unclear, and current treatments only help to slow cognitive decline for a short time. In the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, brain damage leads to a massive decline in cognitive abilities, leaving people unable to carry out daily activities on their own.

    Table of Contents

      Introduction: How Alzheimer is diagnosed?

      Because the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are not the same for everyone, doctors must conduct a thorough evaluation to determine which treatments would be most beneficial. Let’s read on to learn more about how Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

      First, your doctor will take your personal, medical, and occupational history to help establish the basis for the diagnosis. The next step is a complete physical examination to look for any abnormalities, signs, symptoms, or clues. You will also be screened for several neurological conditions other than Alzheimer’s disease that may be causing your current symptoms.

      Once the symptoms have been identified and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease has been confirmed, your cognitive abilities will be assessed through a series of tests. A poor score indicates severe symptoms, while a good score indicates relatively few symptoms and no apparent cognitive impairment. Most commonly, neuropsychological and mental status tests are used in the evaluation and hold a key place in the Alzheimer’s diagnosis process. These tests reveal the degree of cognitive impairment, the extent to which the brain damage affects your daily activities, and any behavioral changes.

      However, if the diagnosis is not clear enough, your doctor may order additional brain imaging tests, including MRI, PET scan, and CT scan. Of the three, the PET scan is the most effective in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. These scans help in

      • Identification of other causes of brain damage, such as stroke, hemorrhage, or tumor.
      • The pattern of brain degeneration experienced by the individual.
      • The extent of brain damage.

      Does Alzheimer’s show up on MRI?

      Brain imaging is an excellent tool to help answer the question of how to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. An MRI scan gives your doctor much-needed information about which parts of the brain are affected by the disease and identifies surgically treatable causes of cognitive decline. As mentioned earlier, a PET scan provides a more detailed view of the situation than an MRI or CT scan.

      One research study suggests that because Alzheimer’s disease is complex, using more than one brain imaging tool may help your doctor gain a better understanding of the disease. Still, brain imaging alone may not be enough to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. A new diagnostic criterion under evaluation identifies Alzheimer’s disease through biomarkers that will help make an accurate diagnosis.

      What are the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s?

      As research advances, the criteria for diagnosing Alzheimer’s will no doubt become easier. Until then, we can keep an eye out for warning signs or symptoms that may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Before we explore the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, we need to understand that this disease manifests itself differently in different people. Some may experience severe symptoms while others may present with a few symptoms.

      Here’s a list of the most common signs seen with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

      1. Forgetting important dates, struggling to keep a schedule, and recalling past events can become a significant issue.
      2. Repeating the same information and requesting the same details repeatedly can be frustrating. Individuals who are impacted often depend on notes and support from their family members to complete their daily tasks.
      3. Difficulty in solving basic mathematical problems. Those impacted experience challenges with calculating bills, managing their bank accounts, or independently shopping.
      4. Misplacing items is a common issue when the ability to recall is impaired. Accusing family members or nearby individuals of losing one’s belongings can also occur.
      5. Behavioral changes are noticeable in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Family members or loved ones can easily identify mood swings related to depression and anxiety, which are directly impacted by the disease.
      6. As the disease progresses, decision-making skills decline. Handling expenses, creating a schedule, and sticking to a routine become increasingly difficult.
      7. Due to neurological damage, individuals may experience progressively increasing difficulty with initiating and maintaining conversations over time. Repetition of conversational content and lost time perception may also occur.
      8. Completing daily tasks such as changing clothes, preparing meals, and doing laundry can be challenging for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Constant care and support from family members are necessary to assist with their daily activities.
      9. Brain damage causes vision loss and makes activities like distinguishing colors, reading, and driving challenging in the long run.
      10. Because of depression and anxiety, people often withdraw from social activities and lose interest in their usual hobbies and interests.

      Early signs of Alzheimer’s may differ from person to person. Several diagnostic tests are necessary to determine how Alzheimer’s is diagnosed. It is always important to consult with a doctor or certified healthcare professional to better understand the signs and symptoms of the disease. Your doctor will diagnose Alzheimer’s disease after reviewing your symptoms, cognitive abilities, and the severity of brain damage.

      Can Alzheimer’s be diagnosed with a blood test?

      Alzheimer’s is a complicated illness that could not be detected through a blood analysis before. Scientists have made an impressive discovery by developing a blood test that identifies early indications of Alzheimer’s disease. The new test saves money as it removes the need for invasive biopsy and brain imaging approaches. C2N Diagnostics created the blood test, which has already been approved and is available throughout the United States as a lab test to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

      At what age is Alzheimer’s usually diagnosed?

      Alzheimer’s disease has three types: early-onset, late-onset, and familial Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors determine which type after analyzing many factors like physical health, prior diseases, symptoms, signs, brain damage, and more. Alzheimer’s disease is often diagnosed at age 65. People under 65 usually have early-onset Alzheimer’s, while those over 65 have late-onset Alzheimer’s. Familial Alzheimer’s occurs in people with faulty genes that cause Alzheimer’s disease.

      This information does not guarantee that you will develop the disease or be diagnosed at this age. Consult your doctor if you want to check for any abnormalities. Also, you can self-test and watch for any signs of cognitive changes. Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to treat because the brain damage is permanent. Over time, the symptoms worsen and make the affected person bedridden and unable to do their daily activities. Until a cure is found, we must depend on current treatments to control symptoms while taking care of our health and well-being.

      Can you test yourself for Alzheimer’s?

      The most widely used self-administered exam to identify Alzheimer’s disease is the SAGE test. This test assesses current cognitive abilities and detects any cognitive impairment. Research has demonstrated that self-administered testing with the SAGE test can identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. However, some people may not experience mental decline, but may still have brain changes that only show up on brain scans.

      It’s important to care about your health and getting tested can provide more insight into your brain health. Yet, it’s better to get a proper checkup and testing from a doctor which is necessary for such a complicated sickness. Scientists have simplified the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease through various diagnostic techniques.

      Featured image: Haydenbird / Getty Images