Stages of Alzheimer’s

October 20, 2017 in LifeCare Health Services

Alzheimer’s is a disorder that effects the brain. Over time the symptoms get worse. On average, a person will live four to eight years after diagnosis. Alzheimer’s will affect each person differently, but there are some common patterns to the progression. Below are commonly defined states of Alzheimer’s.

• Pre-Clinical Alzheimer’s: The changes in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s will start a long while before any noticeable symptoms appear. During this time, it is possible to spot some of the markers such as deposits of the protein amyloid beta.

• Early-stage: Most people can still function independently but symptoms will begin to appear. These symptoms tend to be subtle. Short term memory begins to suffer in this stage, so people will typically experience events such as forgetting a recent conversation. They also begin to have trouble with planning.

• Middle-stage: This stage tends to last the longest. Symptoms will become more noticeable. Communication becomes increasingly difficult for the person. Decision making skills also begin to deteriorate. Some may experience increased moodiness and changes in personality. They may need to start having assistance with certain tasks such as toileting.

• Late-stage: In this stage the person loses the ability to respond to his or her environment. He or she loses the ability to control movement, eventually losing the ability to swallow. Communication skills deteriorate to where they can no longer communicate coherently. People in this stage tend to need round-the-clock assistance. People in this stage also tend to be vulnerable to infections.

The above stages are a generalized roadmap. Alzheimer’s affects every person differently, and people progress through the stages at different rates. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Alzheimer’s, but knowing the general course of events can help people better prepare for the progression of the disorder.

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