- a thorough physical is the first step. Ensure that you record all medications, vitamins, and food supplements being used by the person with dementia. Also list any behaviours, such as memory loss, confusion, over-dependency, poor hygiene or table manners, withdrawal, depression, or hoarding. This information will help to eliminate other diseases with similar symptoms.
- The doctors examination will include:
- the patients history
- mental-status examination
- complete physical
- neurological exam
- CT (computerized tomography) scan, which takes X-ray images of the brain, or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and EEG (electroencephalogram), which detects abnormal brain wave activity. The doctor may wish to use other tests, such as PET (positron emission tomography), which shows how different areas of the brain respond when one is engaged in various activities such as reading, or SPECT (single proton emission computed tomography), which shows how blood is circulating to the brain.
- blood tests for thyroid functions, serum B12, folic acid deficiencies, neurosyphillis, complete blood count, and numerous other metabolic functions.
- chest X ray, EKG.
These will be used to rule out other diseases that could be causing Alzheimer’s symptoms.