Advertisement

What will the doctor check during a physical exam for Alzheimer's disease?

During a physical examination for Alzheimer's disease, the physician will evaluate the cardiovascular system, lungs, and other organs for any signs of abnormalities. Because sensory losses can add significantly to a person's cognitive difficulties, the doctor will also test vision and hearing. The physician will also pay close attention to the nervous system, because neurologic abnormalities may signal a brain disorder other than Alzheimer's disease.

Muscle strength, coordination, reflexes, senses, eye movement, and the pupils' reaction to light can tell the physician about the health of specific areas of the brain. For example, unequal reflexes or weakness on one side of the body suggest localized brain damage (perhaps from stroke or tumor), while tremors or other involuntary movements may indicate a degenerative disorder such as Parkinson's disease. These types of abnormalities are not usually features of early Alzheimer's disease.

Continue Learning about Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis & Tests

Should everyone get a genetic test for Alzheimer's risk?
Dr. Rudy Tanzi, PhDDr. Rudy Tanzi, PhD
Scientists continue to make discoveries about the connection between genes and Alzheimer's disea...
More Answers
Which tests help diagnose Alzheimer's disease?
Dr. Eduardo R. Locatelli, MDDr. Eduardo R. Locatelli, MD
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain imaging can help diagnose Alzheimer's disease by ruling out h...
More Answers
How Are You Applying Your Down's Syndrome Research to Alzehimer's Disease?
How Are You Applying Your Down's Syndrome Research to Alzehimer's Disease?
Are There Any Non-Traditional Therapies for Alzheimer's Disease?
Are There Any Non-Traditional Therapies for Alzheimer's Disease?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.