Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This includes a thorough neurological evaluation along with a series of tests. Other tests may include those which will increase or decrease the likelihood that you have Alzheimer disease. Your doctor will also perform tests to eliminate the possibility of other conditions causing the dementia.
These tests help determine if you have signs of dementia, how severe the dementia is, or to look for other causes of dementia. They may include:
Additionally, electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that evaluates and follows the electrical activity of the brain. It is not a common test for evaluating most dementias, but it may be done.
Blood and urine tests may be ordered to look for other conditions that cause dementia. The tests may include:
Genetic tests can look for markers that increase your risk for early-onset Alzheimer. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have family members with this condition.
An Alzheimer disease diagnosis usually falls into one of three categories:
Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia. Updated August 21, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Updated May 18, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Bombois S, Duhamel A, Sallerton, et al. A new decision tree combining Abeta 1-42 and p-Tau levels in Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2013;10(4):357-364.
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Hampel H, Frank R, Broich K, et al. Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease: academic, industry and regulatory perspectives. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2010;9(7):560-574.
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What is Alzheimer's? Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp. Accessed October 2, 2017.
9/3/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia: Wippold FJ, Brown DC, Broderick DF, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for dementia and movement disorders. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/DementiaAndMovementDisorders.pdf. Updated 2014. Accessed September 3, 2014.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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