It is important to get a diagnosis of dementia as soon as possible, so that the right treatment and support can be given. If you are worried about symptoms of dementia, your health or someone else’s, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

After some initial tests, if your doctor suspects primary progressive aphasia (PPA) or another form of dementia, they may send you to a specialist clinic.

Here, a doctor or nurse will run through more detailed tests with you. These may include:

  • Questions about your symptoms and medical history.
  • Speaking to your partner or someone close to you about the problems you are having.
  • A physical check-up.
  • Assessments of your thinking and language skills, memory, and other aspects such as behaviour, sometimes with a specialist speech and language therapist or psychologist.
  • A brain scan, usually MRI.
  • Possibly blood tests or other specialist tests such as a lumbar puncture.

Together, these will help a doctor to work out what is causing the speech and language difficulties and other symptoms.

PPA is a rare type of dementia, not often seen by doctors. This means it may take longer than usual to get the right diagnosis. Find more about getting a diagnosis.

Ben H

Dad had all these tests and I remember going to see the specialist’s office. It took around 18 months from initial appointment to get his PPA diagnosis.

- Ben, whose dad was diagnosed with PPA

When a diagnosis is made, many people will want to make plans for the future. This includes decisions about working, lifestyle and driving, care options, legal and money matters. Find out about help and support for families affected by dementia.

What is primary progressive aphasia?

Information in this booklet is for anyone who wants to know more about primary progressive aphasia (PPA). This includes people living with PPA, their carers, families and friends.

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Order health information

Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

This information was written in April 2023 and is due for review in April 2025. It was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team and Rare Dementia Support with input from expert and lay reviewers. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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