If you have known someone suffering from dementia, you know how it not only impacts the person diagnosed, but their entire family is affected as well. It is insidious as it progressively becomes worse, and the person becomes diminished as the condition interferes with their daily life. It seems like it would be useful to be forewarned. Can imaging tests diagnose dementia?
Dementia Is an Umbrella Term
Dementia causes the progressive loss of intellectual function including memory impairment, decision making, problem solving, communication and reasoning, and sometimes personality changes.
Under the dementia umbrella are Alzheimer’s Disease—which accounts for 60 to 80% of dementia cases—along with five other types of dementia all affecting the brain.
Age does not cause dementia. Yes, age is one of the risk factors, but that is not the cause. Other risks include family history, poor heart health, race and ethnicity.
Treatment for dementia is limited. Neurodegenerative types of dementia like Alzheimer’s have no cure. However, there are medications to help protect the brain and manage symptoms like anxiety or behavior changes.
With over 50 million people worldwide living with dementia and the numbers rising, diagnosing and treating it has become top of mind for doctors and researchers.
Other scans like SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) can show changes in Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center blood flow in different parts of the brain.
SPECT shows areas of the brain and the amount of activity in the brain including either too much or too little activity which helps with a diagnosis.
PET will show changes in brain activity associated with dementia like reduced blood flow.
Advantages of Using Imaging Tests
These imaging tests can provide the following advantages:
- Tests can monitor changes in the brain that help with diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease since it progresses very slowly.
- Tests can measure how quickly a condition is progressing and whether to adjust the treatments.
- Some tests may be able to detect dementia even before symptoms appear.
Imaging tests will continue to be an invaluable tool for the future of dementia, its diagnosis and possible treatments.
Contact Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center at (214) 345-6905 to schedule an imaging test in Dallas if you suspect a loved one is exhibiting early signs of dementia.