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    Alzheimer's Disease - Exams and Tests

    Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed after other conditions are ruled out. Your doctor will use a variety of tests to do this.

    It usually is helpful to have a family member or someone in close contact with the person present at the appointment. A family member may be able to provide the best information about how a person's day-to-day functioning, memory, and personality have changed.

    Recommended Related to Alzheimer's

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    A dementia diagnosis can be devastating -- not only for the person with the disease, but for those who love him, too. “There’s a grieving that occurs. You haven’t lost your loved one, but the person you know is going to change,” says Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, professor of geriatric medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. If you or someone close to you has Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, here are six steps to help you deal with the disease now and in the future.

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    Initial tests

    The doctor will use a medical history and physical exam to help find out if a physical problem may be causing the person's symptoms. Sometimes another problem can cause the same symptoms as Alzheimer's.

    The person will also have a functional status exam and a mental health assessment. During these exams, he or she will be asked to perform simple tasks.

    Lab tests

    Lab tests may be done to rule out other possible causes of a person's symptoms, such as levels of certain minerals or chemicals in the blood, liver disease, abnormal thyroid levels, or nutritional problems, such as folate or vitamin B12 deficiencies. Treatment for these conditions may slow or reverse mental decline.

    Blood tests that may be done include:

    Imaging and other tests

    Other tests include:

    In some cases, examining the brain after death is done if the family wants to confirm that the person had Alzheimer's disease.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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