June 16th, 2015
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder in which the memory and important cognitive functions of the brain get destroyed steadily because of damage and degeneration of the neuronal cells. It is one of the most important reasons behind dementia. Patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease become socially and intellectually incapacitated. The changes become severe enough to interfere with the normal routine activities and the patient becomes dependent upon his caregivers to survive.
Although Alzheimer’s disease is progressive in nature, physicians have classified it into four major stages depending upon its symptoms. Let us look at the four stages of Alzheimer’s disease in detail and discuss the symptoms of each stage.
One starts to notice small changes in the cognitive functions of the brain in this stage. Among the changes seen, forgetfulness seems to be the most common in patients who will develop Alzheimer’s at a later stage. This memory loss is termed as amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Apart from memory loss, patients may complain of impairment in judgment or reasoning, finding a proper word to describe a situation and visual issues. Patients may also complain of difficulties in recalling incidents. It is very difficult to predict how many patients who show signs of mild cognitive impairment would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
This stage of Alzheimer’s disease lasts for two to four years. Some of the common symptoms seen in this stage include:
Although these symptoms are commonly seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, they may also be seen in patients with other metabolic disorders, like thyroid, Parkinson’s disease, people with drug dependency, or those suffering from stress and depression.
This stage usually lasts from two to ten years. Some of the common symptoms seen in this stage include:
This stage generally lasts for one to three years. The common symptoms are:
Patients in this stage are unable of looking after themselves. They are totally dependent even for basic functions and require a lot of care.