Skip to main content

Symptoms and diagnosis

Many of us notice that our memory gets worse as we get older, but it can be difficult to tell whether this is a sign of an underlying condition like dementia.

Diagnosing dementia is often difficult, particularly in the early stages. The GP is the first person to consult. The GP may then refer the person being diagnosed to a specialist consultant.

Assessments can include conversations with the person being diagnosed and those close to them, a physical examination, memory tests and/or brain scans. The Mini Mental State Examination is the most commonly used test for complaints of memory problems or when a diagnosis of dementia is being considered.

Becoming forgetful does not necessarily mean that you have dementia. Memory loss can be an effect of ageing. It can also be a symptom of stress or depression.

Find out more about the signs of dementia, and what you should do if you are concerned about your own, or someone else's memory by visiting the Alzheimer's society website. The Alzheimer’s society also has advice about how you can reduce your risk of dementia, and manage memory problems.