There is no single test for Alzheimer’s disease. A doctor will first need to rule out conditions that can have similar symptoms, such as infections, vitamin and thyroid deficiencies (from a blood test), depression and side effects of medication.
The doctor will also talk to the person about their medical history and how their symptoms are affecting their life. They may also ask the person to do some mental ability tests.
The person may be referred to a specialist who will assess the development of the person’s symptoms in more detail including memory and other mental abilities. A pen-and-paper test may be performed. When someone with Alzheimer’s is tested, they will often forget things quite quickly and be unable to recall recent details.
A brain scan may be conducted, which can show whether certain changes have taken place. The most widely used types of brain scan are CT (computerised tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
A scan will rule out certain conditions such as stroke, tumour or a build-up of fluid inside the brain which may produce similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s.