Diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease
by Michelle Badash, MS
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This includes a thorough neurological evaluation along with a series of tests. Other tests may include those which will increase or decrease the likelihood that you have Alzheimer disease. Your doctor will also perform tests to eliminate the possibility of other conditions causing the dementia.
Tests to Assess Dementia
These tests help determine if you have signs of dementia, how severe the dementia is, or to look for other causes of dementia. They may include:
Additionally, EEG is a test that evaluates and follows the electrical activity of the brain. It is not a common test for evaluating most dementias, but it may be done.
Blood and Urine Tests
Blood and urine tests may be ordered to look for other conditions that cause dementia. The tests may include:
Genetic tests can look for markers that increase your risk for early-onset Alzheimer. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have family members with this condition.
An Alzheimer disease diagnosis usually falls into one of three categories:
Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia . Updated August 21, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Updated May 18, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Bombois S, Duhamel A, Sallerton, et al. A new decision tree combining Abeta 1-42 and p-Tau levels in Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2013;10(4):357-364.
Frisoni GB, Bocchetta M, Chetelat G, et al. Imaging markers for Alzheimer disease: which vs how. Neurology. 2013;81(5):487-500.
Ghidoni R, Benussi L, Paterlini A, Albertini V, Binetti G, Emanuele E. Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease: the present and the future. Neurodegen Dis. 2011;8(6):413-420.
Hampel H, Frank R, Broich K, et al. Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease: academic, industry and regulatory perspectives. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2010;9(7):560-574.
Riverol M, Lopez OL. Biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease. Front Neurol. 2011;2:46.
What is Alzheimer's? Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 2, 2017.
9/3/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia: Wippold FJ, Brown DC, Broderick DF, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for dementia and movement disorders. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated 2014. Accessed September 3, 2014.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 9/17/2014
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.