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What are some tests for diagnosing dementia?

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Quick Answer

Tests such as Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination help doctors to determine the type of dementia a patient has. Doctors also use lab tests, physical exams and medical history to diagnose dementia. These tests help to determine if the condition is reversible, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination helps the physician to distinguish Alzheimer's from other types of dementia originating in the frontal temporal lobe, indicates WebMD. Patients with frontal temporal lobe dementia tend to have more problems with language skills and naming objects, while those with Alzheimer's disease have more difficulty with memory, attention and orientation.

Laboratory tests include checking the thyroid hormone and looking for vitamin deficiencies, reports WebMD. If the doctor suspects the patient may be experiencing the effects of lead or other heavy metal poisoning, he orders blood testing to confirm the diagnosis. Glucose tests check the blood sugar levels, and other lab work can indicate other factors responsible for the issue.

The medical history looks at past illnesses or other conditions that are sometimes responsible for memory loss. The history involves reviewing all the patent's medication for possible adverse interactions or over-medication. Toxicology screens examine hair, blood or urine for chemical reasons for memory problems, while the complete blood count determines if the patient is suffering an infection.

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