Obtaining as accurate a diagnosis as possible is an extremely important part of evaluating someone with confusion or memory loss.
It is important to understand that there are two major considerations when trying to diagnose someone with increasing confusion or memory loss. First, the symptoms may be caused from a multitude of situations that are treatable and reversible (thyroid problems,severe depression, hormonal imbalance, anemia, cardiac or respiratory problems, nutritional deficiencies, infection, or pain). Second, the symptoms may be caused from one or more of several causes of non-reversible dementia (Alzheimer’s disease, mini-strokes or vascular dementia, diffuse Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Pick’s disease, or a myriad other diseases).
The most important aspect of evaluation is finding a doctor who understands the processes of ruling out treatable situations. A diagnostic workup includes having blood work, an MRI, Urinalysis , cognitive testing, and a complete battery of neuropsychological tests to first rule out anything that is treatable, and second to pinpoint the area of the brain that is causing problems. Many physicians are not appropriately trained or equipped to make such an evaluation.