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The Different Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and What to Expect

Alzheimer’s Disease is degenerative which means it becomes worse over time. Learn what to expect as Alzheimer’s progresses:

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative brain disorder which usually occurs in people over 65. Alzheimer’s is fatal when the body ceases to function due to complications from the disease such as pneumonia. This disease can last anywhere from 3 to 20 years. Averaging about 7 to 8. The first sign is memory lost. Followed by personality changes and progressing to a lost of control of bodily functions. These changes gradually happen in a generally distinguishable set of stages.

In the earlier mild stages of Alzheimer’s symptoms are not immediately evident. Then a patient will begin to experience small memory lapses such as forgetting the names of familiar places or people. As Alzheimer’s progresses the afflicted individual may experience confusion about everyday tasks and people. They often become disoriented about time and place. And tend to exercise poor judgment. More than 40 % of people with early stage Alzheimer’s exhibit apathy about their life and condition.

People with early stage Alzheimer’s can often continue living the way they have been living for sometime, particularly when prescription medication is taken. However the ability to live independently may be lost when an individual enters mid-stage Alzheimer’s. At this point patients often lose cognitive function rapidly, forgetting recent events and even their personal history. They may have trouble sorting out the names and faces of familiar people and often forget personal information like their home address or telephone number.

Mid-stage Alzheimer’s patients experience personality changes as well, often becoming withdrawn. In addition they may exhibit paranoid behavior and often can have hallucinations. People with mid-stage Alzheimer’s have an increasing dependence on others and may need help eating, dressing, grooming, and using the toilet. Gradually control of body functions begins to decline as a person enters late-stage Alzheimer’s.

People in late-stage require around the clock care. People with late-stage Alzheimer’s usually will not recognize others or even know their own name. They can no longer communicate or move around without assistance.

As Alzheimer’s runs it’s course the body slowly shuts down and the resulting medical condition like pneumonia will lead to death. Although Alzheimer’s Disease is fatal, prescription medications can often help patients maintain their quality of life for longer periods of time. The personality changes, cognitive lapses and eventual demise of a person with Alzheimer’s Disease are extremely difficult on both patients and their love ones. For this reason it is important to seek guidance and support from a doctor and care team