Memory loss is a common part of aging. But, there is a significant difference between memory loss that comes with growing older and the type of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Memory loss can actually result from treatable conditions.
Individuals with a concern about memory loss undergo a complete neurologic history and exam, including family medical history, review of medications, and psychiatric history. From there, a plan is laid out to further evaluate you using diagnostic and radiologic tests as needed. These may include MRI, EEGs, and blood work.
Within a few weeks after the initial visit, you return for a follow-up visit. At this appointment, we review test results along with your history and exams. This allows us to make a diagnosis.
Dementia is diagnosed when there is an exam and history that are consistent with loss of memory, plus a loss of additional cognitive abilities. The tests can serve to support the diagnosis of dementia, and also rule out other problems that can also cause memory loss and make it look as if you have dementia. For example, thyroid disease, partial complex seizures, and B12 deficiencies can all mimic symptoms of dementia.