How is dementia diagnosed?

hey there care Blazers welcome back to

the place where we talk about everything

dementia doctor Natalie here and in

today's video I'm gonna answer the

question how is dementia diagnosed I've

been getting this question a lot lately

from many different care pleasers so

today's video is going to answer that

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below this video so how is dementia

diagnosed that is such a simple question

but it has such a complicated answer you

would think that in 2018 with the world

facing one of the largest medical

epidemics that we have faced in this


there would be a simpler easier way to

explain the process of how this disease

is diagnosed but it's actually quite

complicated and to simplify matters I

actually am going to include a diagram

of the process and the flow of how you

get to the diagnosis later on in this

video so make sure you stay tuned to see

that so typically the primary care

provider is the first point of contact

at that contact once these concerns have

been raised the primary care provider is

probably going to order some lab tests

just to rule out things like vitamin

deficiencies they're probably going to

ask about depression and mood and

they're going to make sure that there's

no underlying infection happening and

take a they're going to take a look at

the medications to make sure there's no

medications that could be making

symptoms worse like we know there's a

lot of medications that for older adults

are pretty dangerous and can make them

have fuzzy thinking or impaired memory

and if you haven't caught my video on

common over-the-counter medications that

can make people look like they have

dementia I'll link to that above so you

can watch that after this video all

right so after the primary care provider

takes a look at all that they may even

do a brief cognitive screening this is

going to be a 30 question simple test

that they could do right there in that

appointment that's going to be a really

quick and dirty how is your loved one's

brain functioning how are they doing

how's their memory and attention and

concentration and all these other things

if that cognitive test seems to be okay

your loved ones doctor might just keep

an eye on them and want to keep a close

eye but not be too concerned if that

test starts to pop up as a little

questionable or really bad at that point

the primary care provider is going to

refer to a specialist especially if

their score was questionable so if the

score was questionable on that brief

screening the primary care provider will

likely refer to a neuropsychologist

or a Jarrow psychologist or a

neurologist and if your loved one just

performed really poorly on that 30

question screening by the PCP

it's possible your PCP may just skip

that referral altogether because your

loved one did so poor if they just might

give the diagnosis of dementia

themselves even though those tests

weren't really designed to give the

those tests weren't designed to give the

diagnosis they were just designed to

give some information and then you need

more testing but in practice sometimes

things aren't exactly by the book or

ideal all right so ghost the PCP first

the PCP oftentimes refers to a

specialist if it goes to a

neuropsychologist or a Jerell

psychologist which is usually the most

common referral when somebody when the

PCP suspects somebody has dementia your

loved ones then going to get put through

a series of even more testing so

consider it like

more comprehensive test than the 30 item

question test that the PCP gave this

testing session will last anywhere from

an hour to up to 5 hours and it's gonna

involve paper and pencil testing just a

verbal listening to things testing might

even have your loved one draw some items

and then that provider that specialist

is gonna score up how your loved one did

and they're gonna compare your loved

ones scores to other people there's

similar age and there's similar

education so a lot of times family

members have told me but you know he's

86 everybody does this poorly and I have

to say well you know we're comparing

your loved one to other people who are

similar to your loved one we're not

comparing your loved one to a 21 year

old who you know is in college so

there's a general expectation for how

somebody's brain should be working at

that age and at that education level and

if your loved one starts to show up

below in several different areas and you

know goes below the cut-offs for those

areas that's how we start to come to the

true diagnosis of dementia

now sometimes with that testing

depending on the type of dementia that

testing can really pick up some types of

dementia really well especially like

Alzheimer's disease in other cases your

loved one then might get referred for

some scans some brain scans basically

just to rule out any type of vascular

disease or vascular dementia that might

be happening so then there's going to be

the next step after the

neuropsychologist order a psychologist

who it's kind of confusing isn't it so

I'm not surprised to hear that many of

you have this question about how

dementia is diagnosed now only is the

process a little bit confusing but the

diagnosis can come from different

providers it could come from the primary

care provider or from the neuro

psychologist or from the neurologist and

not everybody who gets the diagnosis of

dementia has to have a brain scan not

everybody who gets the diagnosis of

dementia has to see a neurologist so the

process is different for everybody but

there are bay

basically three main things that every

doctor no matter what type they are are

looking for when it comes to the

dementia diagnosis number one they need

a clinical interview to ask what's been

going on in their life and how they're

functioning number two is the specific

type of functioning they should be

taking a look at something we call

activities of daily living things like

getting dressed

eating managing finances driving talking

on the phone cooking so those basic

activities of daily living are a big

focus for dementia because there has to

be some sort of decline in those areas

to actually get the disorder or get the

diagnosis and then third some type of

testing some type of paper/pencil memory

test should be occurring to come to that

diagnosis so I know it's a bit of a

confusing process but I hope this video

helped clear it up a little bit let me

know what follow-up questions you might

have after watching this video and again

as always care Blazers leave me any

questions you have below any of my

videos I do read all of the questions

even if I'm not able to respond to them

immediately you might just see your

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updated tips for how to best take care

of your loved one with dementia and take

care of yourself alright bye


and yeah be sure to state that crap is

diet all you have to do