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  1. #1
    Account Closed
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Mum never had blood tests

    My mother has never had a blood test since we first discovered she was having problems, the GP never mentioned about blood tests, but my friend's dad who has been sectioned told me her dad has had 'the blood tests', what blood tests, what are they able to test for? are the ' blood tests' ruling out certain other diseases such a CJD or ME, can anyone enlighten me?

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator jenniferpa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    I think generally these tests include checking for :

    * Anaemia
    * Infection
    * Electrolyte balance (salt and water)
    * Liver function
    * Vitamin B12 deficiency
    * Thyroid function
    * Drug interactions and dosing problem

    as problems in these area can mimic dementia

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

    Abraham J. Heschel

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    When FIL was initially assessed and had blood tests I believe they checked for other things that might be causing his problems. Possible vitamin deficiencies, liver function, anaemia, and some other things they can test for (we didn't see the full list - we were only told nothing had shown up). It was more to eliminate other conditions rather than to test for a particular type of dementia. The dementia testing itself was a CT scan, the MMSE, a check of his current skills/problems with us and an interview with FIL.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Registered User Canadian Joanne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Blood tests which are normally done are to eliminate other possible causes of the behaviours and symptoms, such as thryoid problems, hypoglycemia, and too much or too little sodium in the blood. B12 deficiency can also cause dementia-like symptoms, as can untreated diabetes. There is lead and other heavy metal poisonings, not to mention that substance abuse can cause people to display symptoms.

    I know my mother was tested for diabetes and we thought at first that was causing her odd behaviour. We hoped, at any rate, but we were wrong.

    There still is no definitive test, blood or otherwise, for AD. People sometimes tend not to be specific about medical tests and treatments so perhaps your friend didn't mention that. Ruling out other possible conditions is important, so that they don't go untreated and cause other problems.
    Former carer
    When you've seen one person with Alzheimer's, you've seen one person with Alzheimer's

  5. #5
    New User
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Dear Bodenssee,

    As others have said, blood tests are performed to determine if there are metabolism-based explanations for the altered mental status. Electrolyte imbalance, like low sodium in the blood for example, can cause altered mental status, slurred speech and loss of coordination that almost resembles excessive alcohol consumption. In addition to excessive or inadequate glucose (e.g. diabetes), endocrine issues relating to thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands can also present with cognitive symptoms. Of course, many of these metabolic issues are easily diagnosed and easily treatable. Hence, blood tests are usually the first round to look at these variables. I hope this is of some help.

  6. #6
    Registered User nmintueo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Great set of responses already.

    NICE also recommends routine haematology - and other blood tests - in the investigation of suspected dementia:

    National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
    CG42 Dementia: quick reference guide

    Investigation of suspected dementia
    Conduct a basic dementia screen at the time of presentation, usually in primary care. Include:
    routine haematology
    – biochemistry tests (electrolytes, calcium, glucose, and renal and liver function)
    – thyroid function tests
    – serum vitamin B12 and folate levels.

    Doctors don't have to follow NICE guidelines. But if dementia is suspected and no blood work has been done, I would not think that satisfactory at all.

    See also factsheet on this site:
    Diagnosis and assessment
    Last edited by nmintueo; 27-04-2012 at 09:54 PM.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Our "Doctor" only took blood tests on behalf of the Memory clinic not for his own records indeed as i have posted before he had little interest in AZ.

  8. #8
    Registered User choccy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    One of my Dad's blood tests were to check if his liver was ok for some of the med's he was prescribed.
    I know what I'm going to do..... I just haven't found out yet!

  9. #9
    New User
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    North West England

    Hip Replacement Metal Poisoning?

    Sorry if I may be diversifying but regarding blood tests for heavy metal poisoning as this might mimic dementia symptoms - has anyone any information about hip replacements and metal poisoning?


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