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Understanding Alzheimer's Disease






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Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is categorized in three main stages: mild, moderate, and severe.

MILD -- People suffering from mild Alzheimer’s disease may appear to be healthy, but they actually have trouble making sense of their surroundings. Because mild Alzheimer’s is commonly mistaken for normal aging, it may take time for you to realize your loved one is suffering from mild Alzheimer’s.

MODERATE – In the moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the degeneration of the brain worsens and spreads to other areas that control language, reasoning, sensory processing and thought. The signs of the disease become more pronounced and behavioral problems often occur.

SEVERE – Damage to the brain’s nerve cells is widespread in severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease. People may lose motor coordination and the ability to walk, speak, feed themselves, and recognize others. Typically at this stage, full time care is required.

Each of the three stages; mild, moderate and severe, can be further broken down into seven levels:

Level 1 is considered to be a normal adult with no decline in function or of their memory.

Level 2 is a slight decline from stage 1. A person in stage 2 will complain of deficits in recalling familiar names and places. This stage is often overlooked because forgetfulness is assumed to be a natural process associated with aging.

Level 3 is characterized by a mild decline defined as early Alzheimer’s disease. In stage 3, anxiety and denial are large features under intensive interviews. Some signs include getting lost when traveling to unknown locations, low performance in the workplace and loss of words or vocabulary.

Level 4 is identified when the person needs assistance in complicated tasks such as handling individual’s finances. In this stage people tend to exhibit problems remembering their past events such as family vacations.

Level 5 brings a severe decline in a person’s ability to do everyday activities. In this stage one will need constant assistance by another individual to do simple tasks of picking out cloths, preparing meals and even starting a car. They will have difficultly recalling current information, but will still remember major information involving themselves and their families.

Level 6 is when there is a moderately severe decline in the disease. By this stage, Alzheimer’s patients forget significant amounts of information including personal facts. When this stage approaches, a person needs assistance getting dressed and going to the bathroom, and has disturbed sleep patterns. The individual’s personality change becomes highly apparent and noticeable. Feeling frustrated and acting out with violence may occur because of the person’s inability to remember or process information long enough to react to their own thoughts.

Level 7 is the last stage in Alzheimer’s disease. This is when there is a severe decline in vocabulary, emotions and the connection of the brain to body parts. Patients are now limited to six or seven words at a time. They lose the ability to walk, sit up straight, hold up their head, and even smile. In this stage there is no ability to have a hand-to-mouth motion, to place one foot in front of another, or even to urinate on their own.