Diagnosing Dementia – What’s involved?

Diagnosing Dementia can take time. The sooner someone goes to their G.P. with symptoms such as increasing forgetfulness or other confusion, the better.  There is a range of tests and assessments which will need to be carried out to give the exact diagnosis which your G.P. can organise.  Also, there are at least 400 types of dementia.  Some of the most common types are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy Body disease
  • Early Onset dementia


Start with your GP

To prepare for this first visit it is a good idea to have written examples of things that are troubling you – a journal or diary could assist with this.

When diagnosing dementia, your GP will want to conduct tests such as memory tests and blood tests.  They will be ruling out other possible causes for symptoms that are presenting – such as side effects of medications or other disorders.  It is normal that your GP might refer to a consultant such as a memory clinic or a neurologist.


Consultant Teams Will Help with Diagnosing Dementia

A specialist team will undertake a full assessment to find the cause of your symptoms.  It is normal to have more memory tests, blood tests, a physical exam and a brain scan may be required.  To build a full picture they will go through your family history to see if anything features there.  The team can even ask family members to give their insight into the changes they have noticed.


Dementia Diagnosis Next Steps

Although you may have it as a possibility, an actual diagnosis of dementia can be devastating and everyone involved will need support.  The best way to approach it is to talk to people and to become informed of the various support services available.

Your primary support will be your G.P.  Your G.P. will point you in the right direction as to what treatments are possible, how to cope with new symptoms this will help live a positive life with dementia.

There are a lot of people going through what you are experiencing so know that you are not alone.  Get in touch with an organisation such as the Alzheimers Society, there are advances being made all the time.  If you would like some advice on what to do next please feel free to contact us for some advice.


Related Resources



Alzheimers Association - First steps after diagnosis



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