Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

How is dementia diagnosed - video transcript

2-minute read

If you are worried about dementia, it is important to go see a doctor. Your doctor will use memory tests to identify any issues and may refer you to a specialist for further testing. Learn more about how dementia is diagnosed.

Video transcript


Peter - look, you've been pretty tired recently, and it's probably the reason why you don't remember anything so well, but I'm worried about you. Let's go see the doctor. Just have a checkup. Let's see what she thinks.


But I'm sleeping like a log. If it will make you happy, I'll go and see the doctor.

Professor Susan Kurrle

If there is a worry about memory problems, and about the possibility of dementia, it's important that the general practitioner uses a memory test such as the Mini Mental State Examination to screen for the possibility of dementia.

This doesn't diagnose the dementia, but it does mean something's up, and maybe there should be a referral to a specialist for further testing.

When we're looking to test someone for their memory to see if they have got an underlying dementia, we ask things like - do they know what day of the week it is? Do they know what year it is? Do they know where they are at the moment?

We also test their memory by giving them three or four words to remember, which we ask later. We get them to do some simple drawing, like drawing a clock face, to see if they're still able to remember how to put the numbers in and the hands in. And then we ask them if they remembered those three words we gave them earlier. So they're fairly simple tests initially. But if there is problems with those, then we need to dig a little deeper.


So the GP said it might be dementia, but then again, it might not. There are more tests to exclude other causes. And I have to see a specialist. I guess time will tell.

Professor Susan Kurrle

With people who you are worried about with dementia, it's important to make sure there isn't something else going on that can be corrected. And this is why your doctor might organise some blood tests. And also, perhaps, a CAT scan of the brain, looking to see if, perhaps, there's an underlying stroke or something else happening that can explain those changes.

Watch the related video

Last reviewed: October 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Impetigo -

Impetigo - sometimes called school sores - is a very contagious skin infection. It is most common in children and infants and causes sores, especially on the face.

Read more on myDr website

Breasts: inside women's breasts -

An internal view shows that the breast is made up of fat, nipple, glands and a network of ducts.

Read more on myDr website

Varicose veins -

Varicose veins (twisted, swollen veins) in the legs are a common problem. Find out about the causes, symptoms and treatment for varicose veins.

Read more on myDr website

Listeria risk in pregnancy -

Listeria bacteria can cause serious problems during pregnancy. Listeria can be transmitted by eating contaminated food, but there are steps you can take to avoid infection.

Read more on myDr website

Malaria precautions while pregnant or breast feeding -

Malaria infection in pregnant women may be more severe than in non-pregnant women. Find out what precautions need to be taken for travel.

Read more on myDr website

Physical activity in children and teenagers -

Get the low down on why physical activity is so important for children and teenagers.

Read more on myDr website

Ultrasound -

Ultrasound is a way of taking a look at the unborn baby without using potentially harmful X-rays.

Read more on myDr website

Head lice -

Head lice (or nits), which live and breed in hair or on the scalp, can be treated by wet combing with a conditioner or with various shampoos and lotions.

Read more on myDr website

Ovulation testing -

Find out how ovulation tests can help you find your most fertile days and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Read more on myDr website

Childhood rashes -

Distinguish between the childhood rashes of rubella (German measles), measles, chickenpox and fifth disease ('slapped cheek' disease).

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo