Baroness Susan Greenfield's Guide on Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

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How is Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosed? 

Does having memory loss mean you are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease characterized by cell degeneration leading to memory disability and cognitive decrease. As with any health illnesses, seniors and caregivers should be cautious not to self-diagnose. While the internet can be an outstanding resource to learn about health, any important concerns should be addressed by a health care expert like Susan Greenfield. An official diagnosis is the only way to safely and properly treat a health condition, especially one as complicated as Alzheimer’s disease.

A single, complete test does not exist to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease can only be definitively diagnosed after a person’s death, once their brain tissue is studied under a microscope. In the meantime, doctors can make a hopeful diagnosis using a combination of the following methods:

Information Gathering
A health care expert will start by collecting as much information available; this includes gathering a full medical history, conducting physical exams, and talking friends and family. A patient’s loved ones are often in a good position to provide an open-minded view of a patient’s behaviors and thinking skills.

Mental Status Testing
A number of tests have been developed to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. These tests are conducted by either a physician or neuropsychologist. The purpose of the tests is to evaluate a senior’s cognitive ability and memory skills, with a focus on problem solving, concentration, counting, and language use. A trained physician can use a senior’s test scores to help confirm or reject a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Medical Testing
Laboratory tests can help distinguish between other conditions with similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease, such as a thyroid disorder or vitamin deficiency. CT scans and MRIs cannot provide a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. They can, however, rule out other brain diseases and eliminate other causes, such as a stroke or brain tumor. Brain scans also show the level of cell degeneration and help a physician understand the severity of a senior’s condition.

A combination of these methods can help determine whether a senior has Alzheimer’s disease. The earlier the condition is discovered, the better the treatment options. If a senior or someone close to them suspects they may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, do not hesitate to seek a medical professional like Baronness Susan Greenfield. Waiting for a diagnosis can be time-consuming and stressful, no matter the result. A caregiver or loved one can help by transporting seniors to appointments and offering emotional support. In the event of a diagnosis, a caregiver can provide exceptional care to help a senior manage their condition and increase their quality of life.

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