Dementia is a medical condition that more commonly affects older people.
It is the loss of cognitive functions such as thinking, remembering, and even reasoning. Dementia can also affect a person’s emotions and personality.
It is a very hard condition to deal with emotionally if you are a family member or a loved one of the person affected.
There are many types of dementia, with the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia has stages wherein the mildest stage is the beginning, and in the severe stage, patients with dementia have to rely on others for even the most basic daily activities.
It is best to diagnose dementia as early as possible. However, is a neurologist the right doctor to consult? Does a neurologist diagnose dementia?
Let’s talk about that and more in today’s article.
Does A Neurologist Diagnose Dementia?
Yes, neurologists can provide a diagnosis for dementia. But, with that said, neurologists are not the only ones who can diagnose dementia.
Going to a primary care doctor first is the first step if you are experiencing symptoms. If they think that it is dementia, they may refer you to a neurologist.
Other medical doctors such as geriatric psychiatrists, geriatricians, and neuropsychologists also provide a diagnosis for dementia. Mental health doctors, such as psychologists and psychiatrists, also use diagnosing tests for dementia.
However, neurologists are often the doctors associated with dementia. Now how exactly is dementia diagnosed?
How Dementia Is Diagnosed
Well, dementia is not easily diagnosed, and one test is not enough for a doctor to say that you have dementia. You will be put through several tests to be able to confirm and diagnose your dementia.
Upon visiting your primary care doctor, you will likely start with a physical exam along with specific questions regarding the following:
- Family history of dementia
- When the symptoms began
- Changes in behavior and personality
- Other medical conditions and/or medications that you are taking
They may also ask friends and family the same questions as it is challenging to be aware of your condition when it comes to dementia. Then other tests may be performed on you, such as a cognitive test which will measure your ability to think, reason, count, and language.
You may also undergo neurological tests to measure your balance, reflex—eye movements, and how your senses function. You may have to go through a lab test to check, which will check the levels of the chemicals in your body, your hormones, and vitamins.
You may also undergo brain scans such as CT, MRI, and PET scans. A psychiatric evaluation can also determine if you have mental health disorders and what contributes to your symptoms.
A genetic test will also be done, especially if there is a family history of dementia. With all that to say, dementia is a complicated medical condition that is difficult to diagnose.
It will take more than just a single test to diagnose; it may also need the aid of other doctors aside from neurologists such as mental health professionals.