I have so much to learn about Alzheimer’s Disease. For instance, did you know that there are 7 different stages to determine the severity of the disease? This is something I was unfamiliar with and wanted to learn more about. I’ve read several articles pertaining to these 7 stages and found the most helpful information was on the Alzheimer Reading Room website.
STAGE 1: No impairment, it would be almost impossible to diagnose.
STAGE 2: Very mild cognitive decline. Memory lapses. Forgetting key, cell phone, etc. Everyone I know suffers from this!
STAGE 3: Mild Cognitive Decline. Friends and family begin to notice there is a problem.
STAGE 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline: A medical doctor detects memory problems. Memory gets worse. Hard time remembering their address and telephone number.
STAGE 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline: Moderate to mid-stage Alzheimer. Major gaps in memory occur. Where they are and the date. Needs some help with daily activities.
STAGE 6: Severe Cognitive Decline: Memory continues to get worse. Loses awareness of recent experiences. Occasionally forgets the names of the people closest to them. Needs help with the handling of details of going to the bathroom, incontinence becomes a problem, personality changes and changes in behavior become a problem.
STAGE 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline: Final stage. Loses the ability to respond to their environment. The ability to speak. The patient needs help eating, going to the bathroom. Unable to hold their own head up or to smile. Reflexes become abnormal and muscles grow rigid. Swallowing is impaired.
From the different articles, I have read AD is a slow and gradual disease that lasts from 8 to 10 years. There is not a test that can diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s can be narrowed down through medical history, certain tests like the SAGE test, and an MRI of the brain. It is a scary diagnosis for the patient as well as the family. It means big changes are coming and you need to come up with a plan immediately.