Basic Information on Dementia
Symptoms of DementiaPeople 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 DiagnosisDoctors 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.)