Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that affects the brain. Symptoms usually develop slowly and worsen over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. There are five main stages of Alzheimer’s disease: preclinical, mild, moderate, severe, and end stages. Each stage is associated with different symptoms and levels of decline. Keep reading to gain a greater understanding of these stages and what to expect, and for further resources and information, check out Alz Info.
The Preclinical Stage
The preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease is a time when people may start to experience some cognitive problems, such as memory loss. These problems, however, are not severe enough to interfere with daily life. During the preclinical stage, the brain is still functioning normally, but changes are happening in the brain that will eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease. These changes include the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. This stage of Alzheimer’s disease is an important time to get tested for the disease and to start taking steps to protect the brain from damage.
The Mild Stage
In the mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people may experience some memory loss and mild confusion. They may also have difficulty completing familiar tasks and have trouble finding the right words when speaking. In the mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people may also become more withdrawn and less interested in social activities. They may also start to experience mood swings and changes in their personality. People in the mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease may still be able to live independently, but they may need some help from family members or caregivers.
The Moderate Stage
It’s important to understand the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease because this is when many people require significant assistance with their day-to-day activities. In fact, most people in the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease need some type of help with activities such as bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, and preparing meals. During the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people may also have difficulty with complex tasks such as balancing a checkbook or cooking a meal. They may also experience changes in their mood and behavior, which can be challenging for caregivers and loved ones.
The Severe Stage
The severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most advanced and debilitating stages of the illness. This is the stage in which the person with Alzheimer’s has lost the ability to communicate effectively, care for themselves, or perform basic daily tasks. They may also be unaware of their surroundings and confused about who they are and where they are. The severe stage of Alzheimer’s can last for many years and usually results in the person being unable to live independently. They may require total care and supervision around the clock. Treating the severe stage of Alzheimer’s is largely about managing the person’s symptoms and providing support and care.
The End Stage
In the end stage of the disease, the person with Alzheimer’s may experience severe changes in mood and behavior, become completely bedridden, and lose the ability to speak. They may also become incontinent and have difficulty swallowing. The person’s physical health will also decline significantly in the end stage of Alzheimer’s. They may lose the ability to move around and may become very thin due to a lack of appetite. The end of Alzheimer’s is a difficult time for both the person with the disease and their loved ones. It is important to provide as much support and care as possible during this time.
Overall, understanding the Alzheimer’s disease stages is important because it can help caregivers and loved ones to better understand the changes that may be taking place in the person with Alzheimer’s and to better anticipate and plan for care needs.