Alzheimer’s disease is a serious brain disorder that affects the daily through memory loss and other cognitive changes that was named after Alois Alzheimer who first described the condition in 1906.it is a degenerative disease which progresses from a general mild forgetfulness to a serious neurological impairment and at final stage causes ultimately death. Alzheimer’s disease causes chemical and structural changes in the brain. This slowly destroys an individual’s the ability to create, remember, learn, reason, relate to others in the society and at critical stage brain cells die resulting to drastic personality loss and finally all the body systems fail and the patient passes on. However, not all memory loss indicates Alzheimer’s disease but it is advisable to check out for early warning signs association with Alzheimer’s such as; cases of memory loss, experiencing difficulty while performing very familiar tasks, experiencing language problems that where initially not a problem, disorientation to time and place with poor or decreased judgment, misplacing things and loss of initiative.
Stages of Alzheimer’s disease
The development of the Alzheimer’s disease in many individuals is based on several methods of “staging” based on these patterns. The staging systems provide an important reference point for understanding how the Alzheimer’s disease unfold and how to plan for it. However, it is important to note that the staging method is general and that not everyone will experience the symptoms at the same rate as another. The “staging” concept helps in placing the stages as either early-stage, mid-stage and late-stage categories depending on the concept of mild, moderate, moderately severe and severe Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease live for an average of four to six years after diagnosis before they die, although the disease can vary from three to 20 years.
Stage 1: No impairment
In this stage the memory and cognitive abilities appear very normal. The unimpaired individuals experience no memory problems and there is no evident sign even to a health care professional who concerned with identifying signs and triggers during a medical interview.
Stage 2: Minimal Impairment/Normal Forgetfulness
The stage is mainly defined by memory loss, lapses and changes in one’s thinking that is rarely detected by friends, family, or medical personnel. Patients begin noticing problems in their concentration especially in forgetting familiar words, names, location of keys, eyeglasses or other objects used on a daily biases.
Stage 3: EarlyMild cognitive decline
The patient ability to perform begins to show difficulties in functioning. Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice deficiencies in most of the tasks performed by the patient. Certain measurable clinical tests can determine the problems with memory and concentration. During this stage some common difficulties include: a decreasing ability to remember new people’s names when introduced to them, a noticeable decline in performance issues in social or work settings, having problems in retaining read material, Losing or misplacing of valuable object, patients have a declined ability to plan or organize their activities. All these characteristics are noticeable to family, friends, co-workers and close associates.
Stage 4: Mild Alzheimer’s
The stage has clear-cut deficiencies in the following areas on a close clinical interview; the patient has decreased knowledge of any recent occasions and current events affecting them, performing mental arithmetic’s becomes a big challenge, there is decreased capacity to perform complex tasks such as managing finances and planning for events, individuals experience a reduced memory of their personal history and have problems carrying out sequential tasks.
Individual usually seem subdued, withdrawn, defensive, and have denial problems especially in socially and mentally challenging situations. The stage usually lasts roughly for 2 years.
Stage 5:Moderately severe cognitive decline
The cognitive decline is very severe, and patients require assistance because they can longer manage their schedules independently in community. At this stage, individuals become more confused about their whereabouts, dates, days, weeks and seasons, they have trouble with less challenging mental arithmetic, individuals have problem clothing themselves and at this stage individuals require no assistance with eating or using the toilet. The average time in this stage is usually 1.5 years
Stage 6:Severe cognitive decline
At this stage memory difficulties continue to worsen, individuals personality changes emerge and they need extensive help in their daily activities. At this stage, individuals; cannot recollect their personal history although, they can recall their own name but forget names of their spouse or caregiver, normal sleep cycle is disruption, they need help with handling details of toileting, clothing to avoid errors. At this stage there are significant personality changes and behavioral symptoms such as suspiciousness, delusions, hallucinations and repetitive behaviors such as hand-wringing or tissue shredding. The stage lasts approximately 2.5 years.
Stage 7:Very severe cognitive decline
This is the final stage of the disease. Individuals lose their ability to speak and control movement completely; they can no longer recognizable speech, although they may occasionally utter words and phrases. They need help in almost everything they do. The worst comes when swallowing becomes impaired resulting to a serious decline in health that causes body systems to shut down. Survival duration is determined by the quality of care and usually lasts 1-2.5 years.