The prospect of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis may leave your family concerned, but seniors who receive an earlier diagnosis can begin receiving the treatment they need to slow the progression of the disease. Talking to a doctor about Alzheimer’s disease can also alleviate concerns your senior loved one has about memory loss or confusion. Doctors use several different techniques to diagnose Alzheimer’s, including these five methods that may be included in your loved one’s diagnosis.
1. Taking a Medical History Report
The first thing a doctor will usually do is find out more about a senior’s health and family history. The doctor may ask what medications your loved one takes or if anyone else in the family has had Alzheimer’s disease in the past. This portion of the diagnosis helps the doctor determine your loved one’s risk factors for having the disease to see what types of further testing are needed.
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2. Conducting a Physical Exam
The next step usually involves a general physical examination. During the exam, the doctor will look for potential physical causes of your loved one’s symptoms. For instance, the doctor may find poorly controlled diabetes is leading to confusion or hallucinations that are similar to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. If a health issue is found that could be causing your loved one’s symptoms, the doctor may suggest treating it first to see if it helps.
3. Performing a Neurological Exam
A neurological exam involves a few different steps designed to test how well the brain is functioning. For instance, the doctor may test your loved one’s reflexes and listen to his or her pattern of speech carefully. Your loved one may be asked to do puzzles or answer complex questions. During this exam, the doctor is looking for other potential causes of cognitive changes, such as a stroke or traumatic brain injury, before moving on to diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.
No matter what’s causing your loved one’s symptoms, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for the whole family. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Tampa Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
4. Checking Mental Status
Checking mental status can be done informally by engaging seniors in conversations to gauge whether they’re aware of things such as the current time and place. Doctors also have special tools, such as computer-generated tests, that check for things such as whether your loved one can remember a short list of words or put similar items into categories. These tests may also check for mood and personality changes, and you may be asked to provide feedback about your observations at home.
5. Taking Images of the Brain
Brain imaging is a useful tool that can rule out other health conditions and make it easier to confirm an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Images of your loved one’s brain can show things, such as tumors, that indicate he or she has another health condition affecting his or her thought processes. High levels of beta-amyloid are also visible on brain imaging scans, and this is an indicator of Alzheimer’s that can help your loved one’s doctor be confident about the diagnosis.
If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you don’t have to do it alone. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading home care service provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (813) 488-5804 today.▲ Contact Us Today