How is dementia diagnosed?

Dementia can be very difficult to diagnose, especially if symptoms are mild. If someone close to you is experiencing significant memory loss, confusion or showing signs of behavioural changes, it’s best to book an appointment with your local GP for an assessment. This will help to rule out other possible conditions.

Testing for Dementia

There is no single test for dementia. In the first instance, your doctor will organise a blood test to rule out certain causes and check the medication you’re currently taking to ensure this isn’t affecting your behaviour.

A GP will then refer the patient on to a specialist such as a consultant who will have more knowledge and experience of dementia diagnosis.

Patients are likely be given questionnaires to fill in to test their mental abilities and exercise memories. A MMSE assessment may then be used. This consists of a series of questions which can help diagnose dementia, as well as helping to assess its progression and severity. The MMSE tests a number of mental abilities, including memory, attention and language.

Finally, dementia cannot be completely diagnosed without a scan of the brain to rule out other conditions such as brain tumours or head injuries. This is a painless procedure, which involves the patient lying down for a long period of time whilst an image of the brain is captured.