Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die.
It is a progressive brain disorder, meaning that it slowly gets worse as time goes on. Though there is no known cause or cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatment options available to patients to slow the progression of the disease. There are three stages of Alzheimer’s: mild, moderate, and severe. Read on to learn about the key differences of each category of this debilitating disease.
Stage 1: Mild or Early-Stage Alzheimer’s
An individual with mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s is able to function independently and go about their everyday life with little interruption or assistance. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s in this stage may not be widely apparent to loved ones at this point in the disease. The main symptom of mild Alzheimer’s disease is memory lapse, which can include forgetting material that was just read, misplacing a valuable item, difficulty planning or organizing, and struggling to come up with the right word in a conversation.
Stage 2: Moderate or Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s
Once an individual progresses into moderate or middle-stage Alzheimer’s, they require a higher level of care. Typically, stage 2 is the longest phase of Alzheimer’s and can last for several years. Symptoms become more noticeable, and individuals may struggle to perform some everyday tasks without the assistance of a caretaker. As the brain deteriorates more, noticeable personality changes may occur. For example, a moderate Alzheimer’s patient may become moody, withdrawn, suspicious, or compulsive. Forgetfulness becomes more apparent as well; it may be difficult to recall events, what day it is, and personal history.
Stage 3: Severe or End-Stage Alzheimer’s
Stage 3 Alzheimer’s is characterized by symptoms that are so severe that an individual loses the ability to actively participate with the outside world. Assistance from a caretaker is required at all times as a patient may suffer from incontinence and the inability to walk, dress themselves, or even swallow. Communication is very limited, but patients can still benefit from interactions initiated by others, like listening to music or holding hands. Those with end-stage Alzheimer’s become increasingly vulnerable to other health conditions, such as pneumonia.
If you or someone you know is living with Alzheimer’s disease, consult a healthcare professional for guidance. BTC of New Bedford is currently enrolling patients with Alzheimer’s disease for a clinical trial in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Learn more today about this opportunity – you or a loved one may receive treatment at no cost to you and contribute to the advancement of medical research for current and future generations.