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Symptoms and diagnosis

Learn the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

Recognizing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult. Too often its signs – forgetfulness, confusion and anger – are attributed to age, stress, depression or poor health.

The experts at Banner Alzheimer’s utilize a combination of exams to determine if symptoms result from Alzheimer’s, other dementia or an unrelated medical condition. Our team considers three key questions during diagnosis:

  • Are there changes in memory and thinking abilities?

  • What could be causing memory loss or thinking changes?

  • Are the symptoms and course of the disease consistent with what we know about Alzheimer’s or other dementias?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease requires comprehensive medical testing and a thorough physical exam. At Banner Alzheimer’s Institute we’ve created an efficient approach – delivered with compassion – that keeps you informed every step of the way.

Before a Banner Alzheimer’s consultation

Prior to the first appointment, a family member of the person experiencing memory loss will be asked to:

  • Complete a detailed medical and social history

  • Accompany the person experiencing memory loss to the appointment

During a Banner Alzheimer’s consultation

The Banner Alzheimer’s team conducts tests that provide information about memory and thinking abilities, along with physical and neurological exams, including:

  • A blood analysis to evaluate overall health and search for thyroid and nutritional deficiencies

  • Brain imaging – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan – to rule out stroke, tumor or fluid in the brain 

  • A  spinal tap or positron emission tomography (PET) scan if the teams believes it will assist with the diagnosis

Following a Banner Alzheimer’s consultation

Once the exam, lab and imaging results are complete, your Banner Alzheimer’s physician – in consultation with other team experts – will provide a diagnosis. Depending on the diagnosis, the next step is an individualized treatment plan that addresses symptoms and assists with everyday living.