Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Progression Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is one of the most studied types of dementia. The progression of the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease can be looked into in detail to understand better how to deal with this condition. The disease is age-related and the early stages often pass by undetected. There is no cure as yet for Alzheimer’s disease but its advancement can be slowed down. The rate at which the brain’s degeneration occurs differs from person to person. Medical experts and researchers follow a seven-stage chart that documents the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at each stage. One can also refer a three-stage progression chart to understand the severity of the disease. Symptoms may often overlap between stages and cannot be considered as belonging to one particular stage alone. Keep reading further to understand the degrees of advancement of Alzheimer’s disease.

The First Signs of Alzheimer's

The phase is referred to as the mild stage, where the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease do not impede a person’s functional capabilities. Patients who are classified under this category will still be able to function independently irrespective of the onset of Alzheimer’s. More than the person who has this condition, the first signs of Alzheimer’s are noticed by friends and family, as the behavioral changes may be unusual characteristics of that person. Common first signs include:

  • Trouble remembering names
  • Losing or misplacing things easily
  • Trouble with organizing things
  • Difficulty in finding the right words when speaking
  • Trouble retaining new memories
  • Poor judgment
  • Mild confusion with simple things like what day or date it is

 

People who come under this stage do not like to feel that they are losing control of the things that they could previously do with ease. The sense of independence is important for them and care givers should try to accommodate for the same.

Alzheimer’s Disease Progression

The mid stage or moderate phase of Alzheimer’s disease progression is when the changes are more prominent. The first stage may often get overlooked as just a case of old age but in the second stage when symptoms are more visible it is advisable to get medical help and therapy. Doing so will slow down the degeneration of the brain’s function. The commonly seen symptoms are as follows:

  • Becoming irritable and angry for even the slightest provocations
  • Forgetting parts of the person’s life history
  • Unable to recall one’s personal address and other important details
  • Risk of getting lost and wandering on their own
  • Personality changes like paranoia, delusional ideas, and obsessive compulsive behavior
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unable to make decisions like appropriate clothing and what to eat
  • Frequent episodes of forgetfulness
  • Mild trouble controlling the bladder and other bodily functions

 

These changes make the person prone to mood swings and aggressiveness. They cannot function entirely on their own and constantly require assistance with many tasks.

Severe Alzheimer’s – The Late Stage

The late stage or the period of severe Alzheimer’s is when the person is requires intensive care and support for every task. This phase is very difficult on the people around whom the ill person depends on. Professional help from nurses may be required in extreme cases. The symptoms of late stage Alzheimer’s are:

  • Weight maintenance issues
  • Difficulty with eating and swallowing
  • No bladder or bowel control
  • Considerable loss of memory
  • Gradual loss of speech and inability to say anything coherently
  • Inability to recognize once familiar surroundings and objects
  • Hallucinations
  • Wander aimlessly

Life expectancy at this stage is very low. The degeneration becomes accelerated and the patient may become bedridden till the time of death. It is best to get professional help rather than deal with this stage without medical advice.