We all know that forgetfulness is seen as a common part of the ageing process - but that doesn't mean that memory loss is. If you’re concerned that you, or someone you know, may be experiencing memory loss, we advise that you visit your GP so they can discover whether you have developed dementia. So what’s involved with a diagnosis?
While it can be hard to confront the possibility of a dementia diagnosis, getting to your GP as soon you are concerned about memory loss is very important. It can help you plan for the future, enable you to benefit from medical support that might be available to assist with treatment, and give you access to expert advice and support on how to manage your diagnosis.
An examination by your GP might include:
- A complete physical examination
- A detailed medical history
- Blood and urine tests
- Memory and skills tests
- An assessment of your mood or emotional status
You can also take a referral form along with you if you would like to be referred to Dementia Auckland.
There is no one single test for dementia, and a diagnosis is usually made by excluding other conditions such as depression, side effects of medication, infections, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid gland problems, or other neurological disorders.
Aside from a standard GP examination, dementia testing may include:
- X-rays, scans or brain scans (CT/ MRI)
- Spinal fluid sampling or brainwave recording (EEG)
- A visit to a specialist, like a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician
- A clinical psychologist appointment for cognitive testing
Here to Help
If at any time you are unsure about the diagnosis process, what the tests involve, or what results to expect back, make sure you ask your GP to provide further explanation.
You could also take a friend or family member with you for support. A support person can help explain any confusing information, as well as assist the GP. Some GPs would prefer for you to bring a support person, so they have someone else to ask questions to about the changes that have been happening that you may not have noticed yourself.
For more information about possible signs and symptoms of dementia, please click here.