Dementia Screening Test, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Dementia Screening Test, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Dementia Screening Test


Dementia is a major health concern not only in Singapore but also worldwide. It impacts not only those diagnosed but also their families and caregivers. Recognising the early signs of dementia can be crucial for timely intervention and care management. If you suspect your loved one is showing symptoms of dementia, understanding the pathway to diagnosis and treatment is essential. In this article, we will discuss dementia screening tests, the process of diagnosis, and the treatment options available.

What Is A Dementia Screening Test?

Dementia screening tests are preliminary assessments used to identify potential symptoms of dementia in individuals. These tests are typically simple and quick, designed to evaluate cognitive functions such as memory, attention, language, and problem-solving abilities. One commonly used tool is the Abbreviated Mental Test (AMT), which helps detect obvious signs of cognitive difficulties.

It is crucial to understand that a screening test by itself cannot diagnose dementia. Instead, these tests serve as an initial step to determine if further evaluation by healthcare professionals is warranted.

Dementia Screening Vs. Diagnosis: Differences

Screening tests for dementia are different from the diagnostic process. A screening might indicate potential symptoms, but only a qualified medical professional can make a dementia diagnosis. For example, while someone might show symptoms during a screening, it does not necessarily mean they have dementia. Conversely, some individuals may not display symptoms in a screening yet could still be living with the condition.

Given these nuances, dementia screenings are valuable for identifying those who may need more thorough evaluation but should not be seen as definitive.

How Is Dementia Diagnosed?

In Singapore, dementia diagnosis is strictly the purview of medically qualified professionals. The diagnostic process usually begins with a visit to a family doctor who can perform an initial assessment. If there are indications of dementia, the patient may be referred to specialists such as geriatricians, neurologists, or psychiatrists for a comprehensive evaluation.

Comprehensive Assessment Includes:

  • Interviews and Cognitive Testing – The patient and their caregiver are interviewed to gather detailed information about the symptoms. Cognitive and language tests are also administered to assess the mental function of the individual.
  • Blood Tests – These are used to rule out other conditions like vitamin deficiencies or thyroid disorders that can mimic dementia symptoms.
  • Brain Imaging – Techniques such as MRI, CT scans, or PET scans are employed to look for brain atrophy or pathological markers like amyloid and tau proteins, which are indicative of certain types of dementia.
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis – This test involves collecting and analysing spinal fluid to look for biochemical markers of dementia.

Treatment Options for Dementia

While some causes of dementia may be reversible, most common types such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia currently have no cure. However, various treatments and management strategies can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

Management and Support Include:

  • Medications – These can help manage symptoms or slow the progression of the disease.
  • Behavioural Therapies and Counseling – These approaches help patients cope with behavioural changes and improve mental health.
  • Educational Programs and Support Groups – For instance, the NNI Cognitive Assessment Rehabilitation (CARe) Programme and organisations like Dementia Singapore offer valuable resources and support for patients and their families.

Consult A Doctor For Dementia Diagnosis And Treatment

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of dementia, it is important to consult a healthcare provider for a comprehensive assessment and appropriate follow-up, paving the way toward optimal care and support.

Health365 has partnerships with trusted healthcare providers in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Contact us for an introduction to a doctor for dementia diagnosis.

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.