How Do Doctors Diagnose Alzheimer's Disease?

How Is Alzheimer’s Diagnosed by Physicians?

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According to the National Institute on Aging, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds. This pervasive disease affects millions of older adults and their families, and getting an accurate diagnosis is more difficult than many people realize. Here’s a quick glimpse at how doctors diagnose this disease and a few early warning signs all caregivers should keep an eye out for. 

Understanding Alzheimer’s

To understand how this disease is diagnosed, you should first take a look at exactly what this form of dementia does. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder that damages various parts of the brain, and it’s usually diagnosed after the age of 55. While some people begin to notice the early warning signs before that age, the disease usually progresses for years before it’s accurately diagnosed. As the disease develops, plaques within the brain begin to damage healthy cells and synapses. Over time, this leads to the cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s.

Diagnosing the Disease

The process of diagnosing someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be fairly complex, and the average individual will need to undergo quite a few tests. One of the reasons this disease is so difficult to diagnose is because the symptoms are fairly common among the elderly. A senior could have Alzheimer’s for years before experiencing severe impairment. When seniors or their family members begin to notice the symptoms, they should immediately contact a neurologist for extensive testing. The doctor will conduct a few different tests to assess thinking skills, cognitive impairment, and behavioral changes. 

If your senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, help is just a phone call away. For reliable Alzheimer’s care, Centennial families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of professional memory care designed to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life. In addition to Alzheimer’s care, we also provide comprehensive dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. From revolutionary care programs to compassionate and dedicated caregivers, we can meet all of your Alzheimer’s care needs.

Ruling Out Other Health Complications

The primary purpose of the initial tests is to rule out any other possible health issues. Memory loss and reduced critical thinking skills are common among the elderly, and they can be caused by many different physical and mental health problems. The doctor must make sure your loved one isn’t living with other complications, including nutritional deficiencies, heart problems, or a mental health disorder. The doctor will also need to scan the brain for tumors, burst blood vessels, and other abnormalities. Once those issues have been ruled out, your loved one may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Centennial Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Looking Out for the Signs

As your loved one ages, you must be aware of any changes in his or her cognitive skills. Some of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s include memory loss, the inability to follow conversations, and difficulty with everyday tasks. You might also notice behavioral issues, and you should immediately speak with the doctor if there’s a sudden shift in your loved one’s personality. Alzheimer’s can impact the area of the brain responsible for impulse control as well, and some seniors who have the disease gamble compulsively or become hypersexual. 

A trained professional caregiver can be a great resource when it comes to managing age-related conditions in seniors. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. Call us at (303) 957-3100 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality Alzheimer’s home care services.