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Basic Information on Dementia

Symptoms of Dementia

People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. People with symptoms may:
  • Lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control.
  • Experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, and hallucinations.
  • Experience memory loss. However, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia.
(Click Symptoms of Dementia for more information about possible symptoms.)

Making a Diagnosis

Doctors will make a diagnosis only if two or more brain functions -- such as memory and language skills -- are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness.
Doctors employ a number of strategies to make a diagnosis. They usually begin by asking a number of questions. This is typically followed by a physical exam and then certain tests and procedures. Tests that are helpful for diagnosing this condition include:
  • Cognitive and neuropsychological tests
  • Brain scans (MRI or CT scan)
  • Laboratory tests
  • Psychiatric evaluations
  • Pre-symptomatic testing.
(Click Dementia Diagnosis for more information about making a diagnosis or Tests for Dementia to learn about the specific tests explained above.)
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Information on Dementia

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