Preparing for your appointment

Most likely, you'll first see your primary care provider if you have concerns about dementia. Or you might be referred to a doctor trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything that needs to be done in advance, such as fasting before certain tests. Make a list of:

  • Symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or supplements being taken, including the doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor

Even in the early stages of dementia, it's good to take a family member, friend or caregiver along to help you remember the information you're given.

For dementia, basic questions to ask the doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests are necessary?
  • Is the condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What alternatives are there to the primary approach being suggested?
  • How can dementia and other health issues be managed together?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

The doctor is likely to ask questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen symptoms?
  • How have the symptoms interfered with your life?
April 05, 2016
References
  1. What is dementia? Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  2. Dementia: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementias/detail_dementia.htm?css. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  3. Larson EB. Evaluation of cognitive impairment of dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  4. Dementia. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/delirium-and-dementia/dementia. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  5. AAN guideline summary for clinicians: Detection, diagnosis and management of dementia. American Academy of Neurology. https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/Home/ByTopic?topicId=15. Accessed Feb. 15, 2016.
  6. Press D, et al. Treatment of dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  7. Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/caring-person-alzheimers-disease/about-guide. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  8. Preventing Alzheimer's disease: What do we know? National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/preventing-alzheimers-disease/introduction. Accessed Feb. 12, 2016.
  9. Natural medicines in the clinical management of Alzheimer's disease. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Feb. 15, 2016.
  10. Press D, et al. Prevention of dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 15, 2016.
  11. Graff-Radford, NR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Feb. 26, 2016.