Dementia Testing in Arlington Heights, IL

Watching a loved one struggle with memory loss or cognitive changes can be deeply unsettling. If you feel that your loved one is showing signs of dementia, such as forgetting important details, struggling with comprehension, or feeling disorientated or confused, it’s important to take proactive steps to get clarity and find appropriate support. In this article, we explore what dementia is and how it differs from Alzheimer’s disease. We also cover dementia tests and discuss how to test for dementia at NeuroHealth in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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What Is Dementia?

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“Dementia” is a general term used to describe a decline in cognitive function that’s sufficiently severe to interfere with daily life. It involves a progressive deterioration in memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgment. This decline in cognitive abilities often impairs a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks independently.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

The symptoms of dementia can vary depending on the underlying cause and the areas of the brain affected. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  • Memory loss.
  • Difficulty communicating.
  • Confusion.
  • Disorientation.
  • Impaired reasoning and judgment.
  • Changes in mood or behavior.

While there’s currently no cure for most types of dementia, early diagnosis and appropriate management can help improve quality of life, slow the progression of symptoms, and provide support for people with dementia and their caregivers. Treatment approaches include medication, cognitive therapy, lifestyle modifications, and supportive care services. Given the significant impact dementia can have on individuals, families, and communities, raising awareness, promoting early detection, and advancing research efforts are essential.

What Causes Dementia?

Dementia is associated with changes in the brain, damage to brain cells, and abnormal deposits of proteins known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for around 60% to 80% of cases. Other common causes are vascular dementia, which results from reduced blood flow to the brain, and Lewy body dementia, caused by abnormal deposits of a specific type of protein in the brain.

What’s the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

“Dementia” is a general term used to describe a set of symptoms related to cognitive decline, while Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia. Let’s explore the main differences between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia

“Dementia” is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms related to cognitive decline. The condition is characterized by a progressive deterioration in cognitive function, memory, thinking, and judgment. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, dementia can also result from various other underlying conditions and diseases.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific neurodegenerative disease characterized by abnormal deposits of proteins in the brain, forming amyloid plaques and tau tangles and leading to the progressive loss of brain cells and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease typically begins with memory loss, and the condition worsens over time, affecting other cognitive functions and, eventually, interfering with daily activities.

There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease: early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, affecting people under the age of 60, and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease — the most common form of the disease — affecting individuals over age 60. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear, but studies indicate that genetics and environmental factors might play a role.

What’s a Dementia Test?

A dementia test, also known as a cognitive assessment or a dementia screening, is a series of tests and evaluations that assess a person’s cognitive function and determine whether there are any signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. These tests are typically performed by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, neurologists, or neuropsychologists. Common components of a dementia test conducted at NeuroHealth Arlington Heights include:

  • A review of a patient’s medical history: We review the patient’s medical history, checking for any symptoms, risk factors, family history of dementia, and existing medical conditions.
  • A physical examination: We perform a physical examination to assess overall health and rule out any underlying medical conditions that could contribute to cognitive impairment.
  • A cognitive assessment: We ask a series of questions and administer tasks and tests to assess various aspects of the patient’s cognitive function, such as their memory, attention, language, visuospatial skills, and executive function. Examples of cognitive assessment tools include the Mini-Mental State Examination, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and Clock Drawing Test.
  • A functional assessment: We might assess the patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, cooking, and managing finances, to assess their level of functional impairment.
  • Laboratory tests: We might conduct blood tests to check for any underlying medical conditions that could explain the decline in cognitive function, such as thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, or infections.
  • Neuroimaging tests: We might order imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans to assess the brain structure and check for the presence of abnormalities, such as tumors or evidence of a stroke, that could cause cognitive symptoms.

It’s important to note that a dementia test is not a definitive diagnostic tool for dementia. It’s a screening tool used to detect cognitive impairment and determine whether further evaluation and testing are needed. A comprehensive diagnostic assessment, including a thorough medical evaluation and neuropsychological testing, is often necessary to establish a firm diagnosis of dementia and determine the underlying cause. If cognitive impairment is detected, early intervention and appropriate management strategies can help improve quality of life and slow the progression of symptoms.

How To Arrange a Dementia Test for Your Loved One in Arlington Heights, Illinois

Are you concerned about a loved one’s memory lapses or cognitive changes? A dementia test can provide much-needed answers, guidance, and support. At NeuroHealth, we offer compassionate care and cutting-edge technology to provide a comprehensive assessment of cognitive health, tailored to you and your loved one’s unique needs. From the initial evaluation to the development of a personalized care plan, our team is dedicated to walking alongside you and your loved one every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your dementia test appointment now for peace of mind and proactive care at NeuroHealth Arlington Heights.

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