How Alzheimer Is Diagnosed? Best Health Guide 2022
How Alzheimer Is Diagnosed? Best Health Guide
Coping up with Alzheimer’s disease is not only a challenge for the ones affected but also for the family and loved ones. The causes are unclear and the current treatments only help in reducing cognitive decline for a short time. At the late stages of Alzheimer’s, the brain damage results in a massive decrease in cognitive abilities which leaves the affected unable to perform daily activities on their own.
Introduction: How Alzheimer is diagnosed?
Since Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are not the same for everyone, doctors have to conduct a thorough evaluation to determine what treatments would benefit the most. Let’s read on to know more about how Alzheimer is diagnosed by a healthcare professional.
First of all, your doctor will start by taking your personal, medical, and occupational history to help establish the basis of the diagnosis. In the next step, a complete physical examination is done to look for anomalies, signs, symptoms, or indicators if present. You will also be checked for several neurological diseases other than Alzheimer’s that might be the cause of your present symptoms.
After the symptoms have been identified and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease confirmed, your cognitive skills will be examined through a series of tests. A poor performance score means the symptoms are severe whereas good scores represent fairly fewer symptoms and no apparent cognitive impairment. Mostly, neuropsychological and mental status tests are used in the evaluation and hold a key place in the process of how Alzheimer is diagnosed. These tests shed light on the level of cognitive impairment, to what extent the brain damage is affecting your daily activities, and identify any behavioral changes.
However, if the diagnosis is not clear enough, your doctor might go for additional brain-imaging tests that include MRI, PET scan, and CT scan. Out of the three, the PET scan is the most effective in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. These scans help in:
- Identifying other causes of brain damage such as stroke, hemorrhage, or tumors.
- The pattern of brain degeneration experienced by the affected.
- The extent of damage to the brain.
Does Alzheimer’s show up on MRI?
Brain imaging is an excellent tool that aids us in answering the question, how Alzheimer is diagnosed. An MRI scan provides your doctor the much-needed information on what parts of the brain are being affected by the disease and identifies surgically treatable causes of cognitive decline. As mentioned earlier, a PET scan provides a detailed overview of the situation as compared to MRI or a CT scan.
A research study suggests that as Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disease, using more than one brain-imaging tool could help your doctor to establish a better understanding of the disease. Still, only brain imaging might not be sufficient to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. A recent diagnostic criterion under evaluation identifies Alzheimer’s disease through biomarkers that will help in a precise diagnosis.
What are the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s?
As research is advancing, the criterion for how Alzheimer is diagnosed will no doubt become easier. Until then, we can keep an eye out for any warning signs or symptoms that may be related to Alzheimer’s disease. Before we explore the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, we have to understand that this disease presents differently in people. Some may experience severe symptoms whereas others may present with a few symptoms. Here’s a list of the common signs seen with the onset of Alzheimer’s.
- The inability to follow a timetable, recall important dates, and remember things from a while ago starts to become a huge problem.
- Reiterating the same information and asking for the same information again. The affected mostly rely on notes and their family members to help them carry out daily activities.
- Difficulty in solving simple mathematical problems. The affected people have a difficult time calculating bills, handling their bank account, or going out shopping on their own.
- There is always a problem of misplacing things like the ability to recall becomes impaired. They may also accuse family members or other nearby people of losing their belongings.
- Behavioral changes are visible in the patient. Family members or love ones can easily identify these mood swings. Alzheimer’s disease induces depression and anxiety that directly affects the mood.
- The decision-making skills deteriorate as the disease progresses. Handling expenses, making time table, and following a routine becomes impossible.
- Due to brain damage, starting conversations and communicating without a hitch becomes progressively difficult over time. The affected usually repeat the same conversation twice or thrice losing the track of time.
- Executing daily tasks like changing clothes, preparing meals, laundry, etc., is a challenge for people with Alzheimer’s disease. They need constant care and support from family to carry out their routine work.
- The brain damage results in a decrease in vision. Differentiating between colors, reading or driving becomes difficult over time.
- Due to depression and anxiety, the affected start withdrawing from social activities, lose interest in the things they do most of the time.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s can vary from person to person whereas several diagnostic tests are required to answer how Alzheimer is diagnosed. Always consult your doctor or a certified healthcare professional to better understand the disease signs. Moreover, your doctor will diagnose Alzheimer’s disease after a detailed review of your symptoms, present cognitive abilities, and the severity of brain damage.
Can Alzheimer’s be diagnosed with a blood test?
Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease that could not be diagnosed with a blood test previously but as research continued, scientists have now achieved a phenomenal breakthrough of creating a blood test that can identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease while saving tons of money on invasive biopsies and brain-imaging scans. This blood test developed by C2N Diagnostics has already got the green flag and is available all over the United States as a lab test to answer how Alzheimer is diagnosed.
Can you test yourself for Alzheimer’s?
The most popular test you can test yourself to identify Alzheimer’s is the Self-administered neurocognitive examination or SAGE test. This test will help in getting to know the present cognitive abilities and reveal any cognitive impairment. A study has shown the benefit of self-testing by SAGE test for Alzheimer’s disease as early signs can be identified. However, there is a possibility that an individual may not show cognitive decline but could have brain changes that are only seen through brain imaging.
It is always good to be concerned about your health and testing yourself will no doubt unveil more about brain health. Still, it is best to visit a doctor for a proper checkup and testing that is much needed for such a complex disease. Scientists have already improvised various diagnostic techniques to simplify the criterion of how Alzheimer is diagnosed.
At what age is Alzheimer’s usually diagnosed?
Alzheimer’s disease is divided into three types, early-onset, late-onset, and familial Alzheimer’s disease. Each of the types is determined after analyzing a lot of factors like physical health, any previously present diseases, symptoms, signs, brain damage, and a few others. The age of 65 is the average age at which Alzheimer’s disease is usually diagnosed. People younger than 65 years develop early-onset Alzheimer’s whereas people above 65 disease are categorized under late-onset Alzheimer’s. Familial Alzheimer’s develops in individuals with defective genes that trigger the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The above information does not mean that you will develop Alzheimer’s or be diagnosed at this age. Always consult your doctor if you want yourself to be checked for any anomalies. Furthermore, you can always self-test yourself and keep an eye out for any signs that identify cognitive changes. Alzheimer’s disease is challenging to treat as the dealt brain damage is irreversible. Over time, the symptoms get worse than rendering the affected bedridden and unable to carry out their daily activities. Until we find a cure, we have to rely on controlling the symptoms with the current treatments while taking good care of your health and wellbeing.