Diagnosing dementia is important. It means someone can get the right treatments, support and help with their condition. If you are worried about dementia symptoms, or someone else’s, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

When you go to the doctor with memory concerns or symptoms of dementia, the doctor will:

  • Ask about your symptoms and how they are affecting you.
  • Ask a relative or close friend if they have noticed any changes.
  • Check your medical history.
  • Give you a physical check-up, checking your blood pressure and balance.
  • Run a blood test, to rule out some possible causes like vitamin deficiencies and thyroid disorders. They may also ask you for a urine sample.
  • Ask you to do some memory and thinking tests.


If your doctor suspects dementia, you may be referred to a memory clinic or another specialist doctor. Here may have another physical check-up and complete some more some memory and thinking tests.

You may also be sent for other tests like a brain scan. Brain scans such as CT (computerised tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used to give a diagnosis of vascular dementia. The scans show the doctors changes in blood vessels or signs of a stroke/s.

Together the results of all of these tests will help the doctor to identify the likely cause of the symptoms.


What is vascular dementia?

This booklet aims to help you understand more about vascular dementia. It gives an overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments.

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

This information was updated in December 2021 and is due to be reviewed in December 2023, it was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from lay and expert reviewers. Please get in touch if you’d like a version with references or in a different format.

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Dementia Research Infoline

Want to know more about dementia diagnosis? Keen to take part in research projects?

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