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Become familiar with Stages of Alzheimers

- Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Become familiar with Stages of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is progressive disease … meaning it worsens with time. Alzheimer's is also terminal, meaning all who develop it will eventually succumb to it. As Alzheimer's rides its course, it renders those who suffer from it increasingly dependent on the care of others.

This is true for all people who develop Alzheimer's, but the particular symptoms and the degree to which they show themselves vary among individuals. For convenience, the progression of Alzheimer's is often divided into three stages: early/mild, middle/moderate, and late/severe.

The symptoms and signs of Alzheimer's have been identified by observing people with Alzheimer's disease as a group. An individual may not show all of the symptoms in each stage of progression. For example, many -- but not all -- Alzheimer's patients develop severe psychiatric problems, such as delusions and hallucinations. Among those who do, the symptoms appear in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer's.

It may help friends and family to familiarize themselves with the typical stages of Alzheimer's disease so that they know what to expect in the coming years. The early/mild stage of Alzheimer's is characterized by declining ability to form new memories, impaired ability to organize and manipulate complex ideas, and, sometimes, by personality changes.