7 Stages Of Alzheimer’s
There are 7 stages of Alzheimers. Alzheimer’s disease is clinically is a Neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Stages of Alzheimers can be in varying ranges from 1 through 7 ranking. Typically there can be confusion over dementia vs Alzheimer’s, which will be outline in this post.
A great book recommendation is Alzheimer’s Through the Stages: A Caregiver’s Guide
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Stages Of Alzheimers
Stages Of Alzheimer’s vs Dementia?
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia? This is a common question because the terms are often used interchangeably, and most people do not know the difference. Dementia is actually an umbrella term that encompasses many different types of cognitive impairments. Alzheimer’s disease is not reversible and there is no cure. Some other forms of dementia are curable or at least able to be slowed down. A good plan to keep your brain functioning healthy is a healthy diet (try this cook book 100 Recipes to Boost Brain Health) and utilizing Brain Games training tools.
Therefore Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia, but not all dementia is Alzheimer’s. It is the most common and widely known type of dementia. There are many other types of dementia many other types of dementia, including:
- Vascular dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Frontotemporal dementia Parkinson’s dementia
Different Stages of Alzheimers Disease
Let’s learn the stages of Alzheimers. Broadly Speaking there are 3 stages of Alzheimer’s Disease mild(early onset Alzheimer’s), moderate (mid) and severe(late). However clinically Alzheimer’s Disease has been broken down into 7 stages. Every one, regardless of age, will experience memory lapses or forgetfulness. This is a normal human thing, but of course as we age we might experience it a little more often. Forgetting the occasional person’s name or mixing up what day of the week it is are “normal”. As long as you can do the mental work to work it out and come to an answer at some point.
Memory loss that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease is more than these examples.
- It is extremely disruptive to day to day functions
- Making it hard for one to plan
- Make decisions
- Problem solve
- Remain oriented to person, place and time.
Stages 1-3 Of Early Onset Alzheimer’s
Stages 1-3 are the pre-dementia stages and early onset Alzheimer’s. More than half of persons over the age of 65 report concerns with cognitive difficulties including forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. It can be very hard to tell if these symptoms are pre-dementia or normal aging.
By the time the Alzheimer’s Patient reaches stage 3, his or her deficits may become more pronounced such as repetitive behaviors. These individuals may start:
- Have difficulty managing tasks that were normally easy for them.
- Activities like balancing a checkbook.
- Have difficulty learning new things.
- These deficits can start to cause anxiety in the patient.
- They usually are still able to recognize their difficulties.
Stages Of Alzheimers – Stage 4
Stage 4 is where physicians are usually able to make an accurate diagnosis and this is what is considered the mild or early Alzheimer’s stage. Patients in Stage four experience:
- Notable decline in ability to manage day to day activities
- Start to become frequently dis-oriented to time and place.
- Are still functioning independently.
- Able to hide many of their deficits from others
- Friends and loved ones who have regular contact with the individual will likely begin to notice the short term memory loss.
- Exhibit behaviors of socially withdrawing which is a defense mechanism.
When the patient has reached stage 5 the disease is considered moderate or mid stage. In this stage:
- Cognitive deficits are frequent.
- Severe enough to be extremely disruptive to day to day life.
- The patient should no longer be living independently without assistance.
- They will not be able to recognize potential harm to themselves or others.
- They generally are still able to follow simple commands and communicate.
- With supervision and cuing they can still live a relatively normal life.
Stage 6 is moderate to severe and stage 7 is severe. In these stages, additional deficits in functional ability are apparent.
- Patients are generally unable to care for their own hygiene sufficiently.
- They will require much more physical assistance.
- Rely heavily on others to complete day to day tasks for them.
As they progress into the 7th stage:
- Communication becomes extremely difficult.
- Mobility becomes severely compromised.
- Patients may experience neurological reflex changes.
- Many people also experience contractures of the joints causing difficulty with range of motion which can be very painful.
- Eventually the brain becomes so deteriorated that basic reflexes such as swallowing become impossible and the body just shuts down.
Each Alzheimer’s patient progresses differently however the average life expectancy after diagnosis (also ambiguous because it is often not diagnosed until moderate stages) is eight to 10 years but it can of course be shorter. The best thing anyone can do to help their loved one with dementia to maintain the highest quality of life during the course of their disease is to keep them engaged, provide reassurance and loving care.
See how essential oils can help with dementia & early onset Alzheimer’s.