Dementia is a relatively common disease, but unfortunately it is not easy to diagnose. There is no sure way to detect it without visiting a doctor, so if you suspect dementia, you should see a doctor. A friend or family member can perform a general examination of your mental condition with you, but only a doctor can find out if you are really suffering from dementia.
Prepare to see a doctor
See a doctor. In the following sections of the article, you will find the types of exams that you can try at home. However, these tests will not give you accurate information, so they cannot replace a doctor’s diagnosis.
Prepare your personal and family history. Some medications, illnesses, and mental disorders in the family (genetic problems) increase the risk of dementia. Other diseases only mimic the symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, but when they occur in time, they can be eliminated. You must tell your doctor the following information:
Diet, alcohol and drug use. Take all the medications you take with you.
The health problems and illnesses you suffer from.
Behavioral changes (especially with regard to diet and social situations).
Find out if someone in your family has ever had dementia or symptoms of dementia.
Go for a preventive examination. Because dementia can be caused by decreased blood flow to the brain, you should undergo a series of classic tests, including pressure, heart rate, and temperature measurements. Your doctor will also find out your balance, reflexes and eye movements and may perform other tests based on the symptoms you are suffering from.
Undergo cognitive testing. There are many types of mental health tests. You will also find some of them in this article. Common questions include:
Enter today’s date, month and year.
Draw the clock face with the hands at 8:20.
Count from a hundred back to seven.
If necessary, also undergo laboratory tests. If your doctor does not require blood tests, you should ask yourself for thyroid and vitamin B12 tests, as these two tests can also determine the true cause of your symptoms. There are many other tests your doctor may require. It always depends on your medical history, so it is not certain that you will have to undergo them all.
Ask your doctor for a brain test. If you have symptoms of dementia but the cause is not clear, your doctor will probably recommend brain tests. CT, MRI and EEG are common non-invasive tests that can help diagnose the symptoms associated with dementia.
If your doctor wants to send you for an MRI, tell him about all the implants and treatments you have on your body that cannot be removed, such as tattoos, joint replacements, pacemakers, or shrapnel fragments.
Ask for genetic tests. Genetic testing is controversial because even having a gene in your body that increases your risk of dementia does not necessarily mean that you have dementia. However, if you have someone in your family who has suffered from dementia, it is advisable to undergo these tests.
Mini mental health test
Note that this test cannot be used as the only method of diagnosis. Doctors do not recommend giving too much weight to home tests. Only try this quick test if you do not have access to medical care or if you want to test a family member who is unable to get you to see a doctor.
Do not take the test if you do not speak the language in which the test is conducted fluently, or if you suffer from a learning disability. You’d better go straight to the doctor.
How is the test performed? A person who shows signs of dementia only has to follow the instructions. The other person will read the steps described below and ask him questions. Write down how many points the test person gets in each section. At the end of the test, add up all the points from all sections. If you get more than 23 points (out of a total of 30), there is a high probability that the person being tested suffers from dementia or another mental disorder.
There should be no calendars anywhere in the room during the test.
For most questions, 10 seconds should be enough to answer. For more complex questions that require drawing or writing, 30-60 seconds should be sufficient.
Time Orientation Test (5 points). Ask the test person to answer the following questions. Give her one point for each correct answer.
What year is it now?
What time of year is it?
What month is it
What is today’s date?
Which day of the week is today?
Orientation in space (5 points). Ask test subjects the following questions. Write him one point for each successful answer.
What country are we in?
What region are we in?
What city are we in now?
What is the address of this building?
What room are we in (or on which floor)?)
Registration test (3 points). Name three simple items (such as a table, car, house) and ask the test person to repeat them after you. You have to tell them all three in a row, with only short pauses. The test person must also repeat them all in succession. Tell the test person that you will want them to recall all of these items in a few minutes.
For each word that is repeated correctly, give the test person a point after a few minutes.
Repeat these three words until the test person succeeds. For achievements outside the first attempt, do not write down any points, but write down the number of attempts you had to pass (this data is used for advanced versions of test evaluation). )
Attention Test (5 points). Say the word WORLD. Then ask the test person to spell that word backwards. If he succeeds within 30 seconds, give him 5 points. If he fails, don’t give him any points.
Some doctors say that it is good to write down the exact answer of the person being tested.
You should not translate this step into another language – try to find the exact test in your language on the Internet and find out which word you should use.
Memory test (3 points). Ask the test subject to repeat three words from the previous part of the test. Write down one point for each of these words.
Language test (2 points). Point to the pencil and ask the test person how they say this thing. Point to your watch and repeat the question. Give one point for each correct answer.
Repetition test (1 point). Ask the test person to repeat the exact phrase after you (find on the internet). Write one point for the correct answer.
Even this step cannot be literally translated into another language.
Ability to meet more complex instructions (3 points). Ask the test subject to follow the three-step order. For example, you can tell to take the paper in her right hand, fold it in half, and lay it on the floor.
Ability to follow written instructions (1 point). Write “close your eyes” on the paper, give it to the test person and tell them to do what is written on it. If she does so within 10 seconds, give her one point.
Ability to write a whole sentence (1 point). Ask the test person to write one full sentence. When a sentence contains a verb and a noun and makes sense, give it one point. You don’t have to take spelling mistakes into account.
Ability to redraw the image (1 point). Draw a geometric pattern on paper: two pentagons that overlap in one corner. Ask the test person to redraw this image on a second piece of paper. If she succeeds, give her one point for each of the following characteristics:
Two shapes, both pentagons
An overlay that forms a tetrahedron.
Check the results. If the test person has obtained 23 or less points, we recommend a visit to the doctor. Do not try to explain to her what the results mean – wait for the opinion of an experienced doctor.
If the test person has achieved better results but still suffers from severe symptoms, take them to the doctor.