As we gradually age, our physical and mental health are typically key areas of concern. If you begin to develop any of the key warning signs associated with Alzheimer’s, please do not ignore them. As soon as possible, schedule an appointment with a health care professional.
The Key Benefits of Early Detection
When you detect Alzheimer’s early, you can actually benefit. Although there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s, there are tools, medications, and therapy options that can significantly improve your quality of life. With early detection, you can:
- Take advantage of available treatment options: When you detect symptoms early, you often have more flexibility in terms of possible treatment options. The earlier you detect dementia, the better. There are possible treatments that can help you maintain a level of independence for longer and essentially improve your quality of life.
- Plan more effectively for the future: The earlier the diagnosis, the more time you’ll have to plan for your future, especially in terms of legal matter, living arrangements, and finances. Also, you can develop a strong support system as your condition progresses. It’s important to plan as soon as possible, as Alzheimer’s can be unpredictable and some progress more quickly than others.
- Reduce levels of uncertainty: Often when people begin to experience odd symptoms, they worry. What is wrong with me? Do I have a brain tumor?A million questions begin going through your head. Although it’s not easy to hear that you have Alzheimer’s, it can reduce uncertainty so that you can continue moving forward, creating the best possible solution for you situation.
Types of Test Available
Now, it’s important to remember that not one test can verify that you have Alzheimer’s. In order for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis, you will need to undergo numerous tests. Other than genetic testing which is typically done when Alzheimer’s runs in the family, some of the other options which are currently being used include the following.
This test will assess your thinking skills and the doctor will be looking for signs of mild cognitive impairment. This is quick and easy and can help doctors decide if select red flags are present so they know how to proceed with further testing. With that being said, positive results could be due to various conditions and have many explanations.
This test is a little more in-depth, as you’ll be tested through a combination of oral and written tests. These help provide a better sense of your cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Some of the key skills examined are memory, attention, and visual-spatial perception. This is great for testing early changes in cognition and can help distinguish the possible onset of Alzheimer’s from other ailments and conditions.
If the doctor suspects that there’s cognitive impairment based on the lengthy neuropsychological test that may have been previously administered, CT scans and MRI is generally the next step. These will show structural changes while a PET will show metabolic changes.
Scott, P. (2012). Alzheimer’s Tests. Caring. Retrieved from https://www.caring.com/articles/alzheimers-tests-pros-cons