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Do I need to see a specialist for my Alzheimer’s disease?

It's important to find a physician experienced in Alzheimer's diagnosis. If a physician diagnoses Alzheimer's after only a cursory examination, get a second opinion. A complete evaluation by a specialist is essential to exclude other health problems that could cause cognitive problems. Your family physician may do part of the evaluation and then recommend a neurologist, geriatrician, or other specialist to complete it. Your local Alzheimer's Association chapter, medical school, or hospital can also identify appropriate specialists.

Before scheduling an appointment, ask what diagnostic procedures will be used. If the evaluation does not sound comprehensive, seek another physician.
Dede Bonner
Health Education

If you have been told by your primary care doctor that you or your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the next step is to find a doctor who specializes in AD treatments and care. Some people prefer to continue seeing their family doctors because they believe AD is a hopeless diagnosis. Others seek a second opinion with a specialist and then go back to their primary care or family doctor.

Most dementia experts believe it’s important to see a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. As Dr. Neill Graff-Radford, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic, suggests, “Each patient should have one thorough evaluation at an Alzheimer’s center. Experienced doctors are more accurate from a clinical and pathological point of view. A default diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease may be made by doctors less familiar with other diseases.”

There is no one specific kind of specialist best qualified to assess and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Most experts agree, however, that seeing an Alzheimer’s disease specialist, such as a neurologist, a geriatric psychiatrist, a geriatrician, a psychologist, or a medical practice that specializes in memory disorders, will ensure the best quality of treatments and up-to-date knowledge on the latest Alzheimer’s disease drugs and research. In any case, you want a top doctor, one that you can trust as a partner during this difficult journey.

The 10 Best Questions for Living with Alzheimer's: The Script You Need to Get the Best Care for Your Loved One

More About this Book

The 10 Best Questions for Living with Alzheimer's: The Script You Need to Get the Best Care for Your Loved One

A good mind knows the right answers...but a great mind knows the right questions. And never are the 10 Best Questions™ more important than after the life-altering diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. ...

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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.