What Are the Stages of Alzheimers Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that affects millions of Americans. It is the most common cause of dementia and interferes with the ability to perform daily tasks because it causes cognitive decline. The connections found in brain cells degenerate and die off, which results in memory loss and confusion. There are currently no cures for Alzheimer’s disease, and it causes the brain to shrink. Because of the brain’s progressive decline, there are seven different stages. Learn about each stage and its symptoms.
Stage 1: Normal
When it comes to the stages of Alzheimers disease, the first stage typically involves no known symptoms of dementia or cognitive decline. This stage of Alzheimer’s disease typically doesn’t involve any behavior problems. Your family member is considered healthy at stage one. If they’re experiencing forgetfulness or subjective memory loss, you may want to look past this preclinical stage and look over at stage two Alzheimer’s disease.
Stage 2: Forgetfulness
Over the age of 65, a lot of people will have difficulty with cognitive function. They’ll have difficulty remembering people’s names or they’ll often misplace their things. Age-related cognitive decline is normal, but when the decline occurs at a higher rate than people within the same age group, then it may be best to see a doctor. People who complain about these issues often may find that dementia symptoms will progress rather quickly. It is referred to as “subjective cognitive decline.”
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment impairs the ability to perform in complex settings. This can be job performance, machinery, or computers. It can also involve situations that require organization like dinner parties or social events. Seeking medical assistance will be important in determining the cause of these difficulties. An MRI and some blood tests can determine a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or if it’s caused by something else.
Stage 4: Mild Dementia
Typically, when someone is already in the stage of mild dementia, it is a lot easier to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. This is because the individual will experience issues with activities in daily life. It may also affect their ability to live on their own. For example, someone who might usually prepare meals for family and guests may have issues accomplishing these tasks. They may still recall their address and identify current events. People in this stage may still be able to live alone in community settings. It can span seven years.
Stage 5: Moderate Dementia
The main characteristic of moderate dementia is the drastic change in the ability to perform basic activities such as getting dressed, getting adequate meals, and managing finances. Individuals at this stage will typically experience behavioral issues such as suspiciousness or anger. They will have trouble recalling major events and aspects of life. Remote memory will be difficult.
Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia
In this moderately severe stage, basic activities are compromised. They will be unable to choose their own clothing or put it on. They may have issues with bathing or brushing their teeth. Incontinence is one of the first signs, and it’s best to provide appropriate bedding and undergarments. In the sixth stage, the individual might start making up nonexistent words, experience stuttering, or fidget frequently.
Stage 7: Severe Dementia
At this stage, the individual with Alzheimer’s disease will need continuous assistance as with the previous stages. Speech will be limited, and the person will lose the ability to ambulate independently. They will be unable to smile or hold up their head. Physical rigidity is common and typically lasts for around one and a half years.
These are all the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While there is no cure, it is at the forefront of biomedical research, and early detection is the best possible way to potentially delay disease progression.