Signs and Symptoms
During early stages a few of these symptoms may be apparent. As the disease progresses more symptoms may present.
- Memory loss
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation to time and place
- Poor or decreased judgment, making bad choices
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
Medical evaluation for dementia usually includes:
Review of history or onset of symptoms
Medical history and medications
- Questions you might be asked include: What problems have been identified? In what order did things happen?
How long have symptoms been present? Does this affect their ability to function in daily life?
- This will provide information about conditions that might indicate higher risk for a particular type of
dementia, or identify medications that may contribute to cognitive problems
- This helps identify symptoms that may be present in particular kinds of dementia or other diagnosis that may contribute to cognitive problems, such as stroke.
- This will rule out vitamin deficiency, infection or hormone imbalance.
Mental status testing (sometimes called cognitive or neuropsychological testing)
- A CT scan or MRI is done to evaluate the anatomy of the brain for conditions that might cause cognitive
changes, such as stroke or brain tumor. The tests will also allow the determination of brain size and blood
vessel changes over time.
- These are pencil-and-paper tests that evaluate many areas of thinking, including memory, language,
problem-solving and judgment. The results are compared with others of his/her age, education, and ethnicity
to determine in what areas the individual has problems and how severe they are.