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Overview of how Alzheimer’s disease is Diagnosed

There are three diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: definite Alzheimer’s disease, probable Alzheimer’s disease, and possible Alzheimer’s disease. Definite Alzheimer’s disease can only be determined after a person dies and an autopsy on their brain is performed.  Probable Alzheimer’s disease is when a person has two or more symptoms of cognitive problems (such as thinking and remembering) and there are no other causes for the symptoms someone is having. Possible Alzheimer’s disease is when a person has one or two symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

There is no specific test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors are able to diagnose a person with probable or possible Alzheimer’s disease by ruling out other conditions. To diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, a doctor will ask about the patient’s medical history, conduct a physical exam, and run various diagnostic tests. These tests include mental status testing, spinal tap (also known as lumbar puncture), and MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging), CT (Computer Tomography), EEG (Electrocardiogram), and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans.

Additional resources that provide more information on how Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed:

Additional resources that provide overviews of diagnostic tests used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease: