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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Memory Loss: Diagnosis & Tests

Memory Loss

Alternate Names : Amnesia

Memory Loss | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

How is the symptom diagnosed?

A person does not need to see a healthcare professional about simple memory loss that happens only once in a while. If memory loss is severe and progressive, Alzheimer's disease must be considered. Dementia can be diagnosed only if a healthcare provider is made aware of the problem.

The family should be able to discuss the range of the person's symptoms over time. Included should be how symptoms progressed and whether the symptoms improved or deteriorated. Also, the family should report how suddenly or gradually symptoms came on. The healthcare provider should also know all medications that the individual is taking. This includes over-the-counter products, herbal remedies, and all prescription medications.

Combinations of drugs may impair memory at times. The healthcare provider will look for other medical conditions that may contribute to the symptoms.

To determine if other medical conditions are contributing to the symptoms, tests may be done. Tests may include:

  • blood tests, such as a complete blood count, or CBC, thyroid function tests, tests for infectious diseases and vitamin levels in the blood
  • memory testing
  • electroencephalogram, or EEG, which measures brain waves
  • electrocardiogram, or ECG, which measures the electrical activity of the heart
  • cranial MRI or cranial CT scans, which look at the structures of the brain
  • spinal tap, a procedure in which a small amount of fluid is withdrawn from the spinal column to look for infection or bleeding

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    Memory Loss: Symptoms & Signs


    Memory Loss: Prevention & Expectations

    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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