A Primer on Alzheimer’s Various Stages of Development

September 16, 2007 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps one of the most feared conditions by adults entering retirement. A part of the dementia category, Alzheimer’s affects the brain’s cognitive thinking, memory and eventually the ability to function for you. While some people with this disease become violent or aggressive, others become meek and easily lead. These are two extreme behaviors and you will likely find that the disease is also somewhere in between.

Below is a primer on Alzheimer’s various stages of development. If you or a loved one develops this disease, for which there is no cure, you will know what to expect as time passes. These various stages indicate just how far along the disease is and many times doctors will use a particular stage in their diagnosis.

* Stage one of Alzheimer’s disease is an average adult with no cognitive or any other noticeable impairments.

* Stage two of Alzheimer’s disease shows some individual understanding of functional regression. During this period, adults complain about forgetting the names of people they know or where they put their keys.

* Stage three of Alzheimer’s disease shows some soft regression, especially in intense situations such as work. Anxiety increases causing even more noticeable problems such as trying to come up with words while talking or writing, short-term memory becomes hazy or even getting lost when traveling to unknown places. Misplacing items is common and problems in concentration affect many areas of life.

* Stage four of Alzheimer’s disease is still relatively mild and a person still easily recognizes the familiar such as close family and friends. They can still travel without anxiety to places they know. However, their reasoning skills and areas where in-depth planning is required take some assistance. Planning a special dinner and paying the bills are just two of many different small problems that creep up. This is one of the biggest denial periods because no one wants to believe that Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a problem.

* Stage five of Alzheimer’s shows a medium descent into the disease. People afflicted now cannot live without assistance. Dressing, cooking and other every day activities require help from loved ones. There is some disorientation in regards to time issues. They may remember memories of family and close friends but they forget new acquaintances, what they had for dinner and even some important things about their lives now. Their minds are in the past.

* Stage six of Alzheimer’s is rather extreme with a rapid decline in memory and where they are. People in this stage can no longer fend for themselves in any way and will need help going to the bathroom, dressing, making something to eat and even feeding itself. Sleep is a problem as is wandering around feeling lost. Emotional and personality changes may happen and in some people wild mood swings as present in dementia may manifest itself.

* The final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the ability of speech is almost gone and people will rarely talk. All ability to sit up, smile, walk or even holding up their head is gone. In this last stage, the brain cannot seem to tell the body what to do and can take a while to die.

Many adults are lucky and don’t have to experience Alzheimer’s disease. However, this primer should give you an idea of what to expect should you or a loved one get this dreaded diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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