To diagnose dementia, the doctor will ask questions during a medical history to assess a person's past and current overall health. He or she also will ask whether there is a family history of dementia or other illnesses. The person being treated and often a close relative or partner will be asked about:
The doctor also will ask about a change in the person's ability to perform daily tasks. The person or relative may be asked whether the person can:
The process may be complicated if the person is not able to remember important parts of his or her medical history. Also, a person who has dementia may not be aware of memory loss, and sometimes family members are unable to spot changes in a loved one's memory or overall mental status.
The doctor will do a complete physical exam to look for conditions that could cause dementia. He or she also will assess risk factors for dementia, such as alcohol use and heart disease.
The person will also have a complete neurological exam to look for signs of stroke, such as trouble speaking, hearing, or moving.
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