Diagnosing the Cause of Memory Loss

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Having memory loss or cognitive impairment does not mean that you have Alzheimer's Disease (AD). This important message is developed more completely at PreventAD.com, an informational website geared toward preventing Alzheimer's disease by educating the public on how to best delay its onset and progression.

Through a standard medical evaluation and diagnostic protocol, physicians often find that depression, a metabolic disorder, or other medications are impairing a patient's memory. By following published guidelines and ruling out other causes of memory loss, physicians can diagnose AD with better than 90% accuracy at an early stage of the progression.

Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease early and accurately is crucial because for every month that treatment is delayed, there is irreversible loss of function. Current treatment of mildly-to-moderately demented AD persons with FDA-approved medication can delay AD progression meaningfully in some patients; the earlier treatment is started the more effectively the progression of AD is blocked, and the longer it is delayed.

Below are suggested steps to get the right diagnosis:

1. Find the Right Physician
2. Get Tested Professionally
3. Collect Patient and Family History
4. Identify Treatable Medical Conditions
5. Brain Imaging Studies
6. Final Diagnosis

Based on the history, examination, laboratory and brain imaging results, a properly trained physician can diagnose the cause of your condition with 90% accuracy or higher using NINDS-ADRDS criteria. Typically it takes a few weeks to complete a diagnostic evaluation of ADRD.

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