Dementia is one of the most costly, disabling diseases associated with ageing, yet it remains underdiagnosed in primary care. In this article, we present the comprehensive approach illustrated with a classical case for diagnosing dementia which can be applied by healthcare professionals in primary care. This diagnostic approach includes history taking and physical examination, cognitive testing, informant interviews, neuropsychological testing, neuroimaging, and the utility of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers. For the differential diagnosis of cognitive impairment, the differences and similarities among normal ageing, mild cognitive impairment, depression, and delirium are highlighted. As primary care physicians are playing an increasingly prominent role in the caring of elderly patients in an ageing population, their role in the diagnosis of dementia should be strengthened in order to provide a quality care for patients with dementia.
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