Although Alzheimer’s disease dementia is the most common cause of dementia worldwide, there are other causes of dementia that may present in the same way as Alzheimer’s. This is the reason a complete work-up is necessary. Usual tests include a Brain Imaging such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computed Tomography (CT) scan. These tests can show if there are other problems such as strokes, blood clots, abnormal blood vessels, water accumulation in the brain (hydrocephalus), masses or tumors that compress the brain.
In addition to Brain Imaging, other tests may be necessary, depending how your symptoms manifested. These are blood tests to check your vascular risk factors (Complete blood count (CBC), Fasting blood sugar (FBS), Creatinine, Lipid Profile (cholesterol), Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), Rapid plasma regain (RPR), serum Vitamin B12 assay.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms or the timeline of events, your doctor may do other tests aside from those mentioned above. Proper diagnosis is essential for the correct management of dementia. It is also crucial for anticipating future needs and resources necessary for care.
Although there remains to be no direct cure for Alzheimer’s disease dementia, there are medications which are available for symptomatic relief. These medications have modest effects on cognition, behavior and activities of daily living. The goals of treatment is to prolong the time that the patient can function and care for oneself, so catching the disease early will give the patient a huge advantage over someone diagnosed very late.
Medications can also address troublesome behavior and well as other issues like poor sleep and weight loss.