Dementia & Alzheimer’s Guide

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7 Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia & Alzheimer’s

According to the Royal College of Physicians, “Alzheimer’s disease is the global impairment of higher functions, including memory, the capacity to solve the problems of day to day living, the performance of learned perceptuo-motor skills, the correct use of social skills, and the control of emotional reactions in the absence of gross clouding of consciousness.”

 sCredit: wikimedia.org

Alzheimer’s disease has different stages. It is very important to know about the various stages or phases of the disease to determine the exact treatment to be given to the patient.

Dr Reisberg, M.D., Clinical Director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center, together with his team, developed the Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) scale of Alzheimer’s disease. They divided it into 7 major stages and 16 sub-stages.

Stage 1: No impairment

An Alzheimer’s patient may experience no memory loss and everything seems to be normal when facing any kind of medical counseling. Stage 1 is a normal stage with no decline in memory of the patient.

Stage 2: Very mild decline in memory

Slight decline in memory may start to be experienced. However, it may be thought of as a normal phase an old person goes through. In this stage, the person who has the disease may forget the names of known places and persons. It is the earliest sign of the Alzheimer’s disease.

Stage 3: Mild decline in memory

At this stage, early indications of Alzheimer’s disease come into picture. In most cases, an Alzheimer’s patient experiences memory loss and lack of concentration. Anxiety is an important sign at this stage but it is not obvious all the time. Memory defects only become clear after a long medical examination. At this stage, patients often fail to plan or organize things properly.

Stage 4: Moderate decline in memory

At this stage, denial and a flattening of the patient’s mood becomes a factor. After conducting a long medical examination, clear cut deficiencies are detected in some areas. An Alzheimer’s patient becomes forgetful of recent events, unable to calculate slightly difficult sums, and unable to complete complex works like paying bills, marketing etc. A patient may forget about their personal history at this stage and become very much withdrawn from any challenging work.

Stage 5: Moderately severe decline in memory

An Alzheimer’s patient is at this stage when they cannot do things on their own and always need an assistant to complete their daily life. At this stage, personal information may be completely forgotten such as address and phone number. A major gap in memory is detected. A patient may fail to do simple sums or differentiate between day and night. A patient at this stage needs help to make a choice of their dress for example, the names of the children and spouse can still be recalled at this stage however.

Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline

Memory loss is really extreme at this stage. At this stage, Alzheimer’s patients need a 24-7 help from an assistant to complete their daily life. They even forget their spouse’s and children’s names. Patients take a long time to differentiate between known and unknown faces. Other signs of Alzheimer’s at this stage include change in sleeping patterns, personality change and increased instances of the patient getting lost.

Stage 7: Very severe cognitive decline

At this final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, very severe cognitive decline is detected. Patients become completely oblivious about their surroundings and rarely respond to their environment. They may fail to communicate properly at this stage. Alzheimer’s patients at this stage can’t even walk, sit or eat without help from others. Patients become totally dependent as they are starting to act abnormally.

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