Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia is a cognitive disorder gravely affecting memory and various other cognitive capacities of an individual. It has been estimated that as high as 80 percent of dementia cases are that of Alzheimer’s disease. The initial signs and stages of Alzheimer’s disease manifest as normal issues related to forgetfulness and mild memory loss. However, if these symptoms go unnoticed, it can pave ways for various other complications in the long run. One must understand that Alzheimer’s disease stages as a progressive disorder and one has to be watchful and monitor the initial alzheimer’s stages to treat properly.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Stages:
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease stages include the following:
- Individuals with this disease experience a loss in abstract thinking. In this, the individual loses ability to comprehend things and work out a proper solution for any kind of a situation. For example, individuals are unable to carry out simple daily tasks such as balancing a bank book.
- Disorientation is one of the common symptoms experienced by individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals tend to forget their house address, and are unable to return home alone.
- Lack of initiative is yet another grave symptom of this disease. The disease causes the individual to become passive and less interested about the social surroundings. They also become less socially active and lose all interest in life.
- The language problem is one of the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease experienced by all sufferers in the mid stages of the disease. They often stumble for the right word and are unable to find its alternative.
- Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often misplace the items and keep searching for them. For example, they may keep their car keys in the freezer and their wrist watch in the kitchen cabinet.
- Mood swings are a common phenomenon of this cognitive disorder. Individuals’ exhibit extreme mood swings. One moment they are sad and then all of a sudden extremely happy or angry.
- Individuals with this disease undergo extreme personality changes. However, this is a normal part of ageing, and is not a grave problem. In this disease, the individual undergoes extreme emotion feelings of confusion, suspicion, fear and anger.
- Judgment skills are adversely affected by this disease. Individuals showcase skills of poor judgment and land themselves in an awkward situation. For example, they are unable to judge the right kind of clothing to be worn in different weather conditions.
7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease:
There are 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease. These include the following:
Stage 1- No Impairment
This stage is marked by no impairment in the cognitive functioning of an individual. The damage to the brain cells has begun, but does not showcase any symptoms.
Stage 2- Mild Memory Loss
This stage is characterized by a very mild decline in the cognitive functioning. The damaged brain cells have begun to show effect and individuals experience symptoms of memory loss and forgetfulness. However, during this stage confirmed signs of dementia cannot be diagnosed.
Stage 3- Mild Cognitive
This is the stage of mild cognitive decline marked by grave changes in mood and behavior pattern so much so that family members and relatives are aware of the fact that something is not normal. In this stage, individuals stumble for finding the right word, have difficulty in performing daily activities and misplace valuable items.
Stage 4- Moderate Cognitive
This stage is marked by moderate cognitive decline. The doctors should conduct a careful medical examination to figure out the actual problem that is causing the symptoms. The symptoms during this stage include forgetting recent events, difficulty in performing daily tasks and activities, forgetting one own personal history and mood swings.
Stage 5 –Severe Cognitive / Early Dementia
This stage is characterized by a moderately severe cognitive decline. In stage 5, individuals would require help for their daily activities and changes in their behavior are now clearly evident to others as well. Individuals often experience gaps in their memory and are unable to remember their own contact details. In addition, they become very poor with mental arithmetic and often get confused with the kind of clothing to be worn in different seasonal changes. However, in this stage, the individuals can use the toilet all by themselves and still hold some memories about certain significant personal details.
Stage 6- Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease/ Middle Dementia
Come this stage, and individuals enter the state of severe cognitive decline. At this stage, the disease is gradually progressing and the symptoms begin to worsen. The individuals experience severe memory loss and require even more assistance for carrying out their daily routine. They require help while visiting the toilet and even experience sleep disturbances. They have difficulty in controlling bladder movements and incontinence begins to set in. In addition, they are unable to recognize familiar faces and experience behavior and mood changes. If they leave the house without assistance, then they have fear of getting lost.
Stage 7- Severe Dementia
This stage is characterized by a very severe cognitive decline. In this state, the individuals experience more grave symptoms and are unable to cope with their daily activities. They are unable to communicate properly and are unable to control their movements as well. Reflexes get abnormal and they find difficulty in doing any single activity without help. For example, they are unable to sit without assistance and also face trouble in holding their head upwards.
All these stages of Alzheimer’s disease speak of this disorder as a progressive one. If timely diagnosis is not made and treatment not initiated, then it can seriously make life miserable for the affected individuals.