Know the Early, Middle and Last Stages and Late Stage of Alzheimers Desease
Early-stage of Alzheimer's disease develop: In people with Alzheimer's disease, the increasing impairment of learning and memory eventually leads to a definitive diagnosis. In a small percentage, difficulties with language, executive functions, perception (agnosia), or execution of movements (apraxia) are more prominent than memory problems.
Alzheimer's disease does not affect all memory capacities equally. Older memories of the person's life (episodic memory), facts learned (semantic memory), and implicit memory (the memory of the body on how to do things, such as using a fork to eat or how to drink from a glass) are affected to a lesser degree than new facts or memories.
Language problems are mainly characterised by a shrinking vocabulary and decreased word fluency, leading to a general impoverishment of oral and written language. In this stage, the person with Alzheimer's is usually capable of communicating basic ideas adequately.
While performing fine motor tasks such as writing, drawing, or dressing, certain movement coordination and planning difficulties (apraxia) may be present, but they are commonly unnoticed.
As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer's disease can often continue to perform many tasks independently but may need assistance or supervision with the most cognitively demanding activities.
Middle stage of Alzheimer's disease develop: Progressive deterioration eventually hinders independence, with subjects being unable to perform most common activities of daily living. Speech difficulties become evident due to an inability to recall vocabulary, which leads to frequent incorrect word substitutions (paraphasias). Reading and writing skills are also progressively lost.
Complex motor sequences become less coordinated as time passes and Alzheimer's disease progresses, so the risk of falling increases.
During this phase, memory problems worsen, and the person may fail to recognise close relatives. Long-term memory, which was previously intact, becomes impaired. Behavioural and neuropsychiatric changes become more prevalent.
Common manifestations are wandering, irritability and emotional lability, leading to crying, outbursts of unpremeditated aggression, or resistance to caregiving. Sundowning can also appear.
Approximately 30% of people with Alzheimer's disease develop illusionary misidentifications and other delusional symptoms.
Subjects also lose insight into their disease process and limitations (anosognosia). Urinary incontinence can develop. These symptoms create stress for relatives and carers, which can be reduced by moving the person from home care to other long-term care facilities.
Late-stage of Alzheimer's disease develops: During the final stage, known as the late-stage or severe stage, the patient is completely dependent upon caregivers. Language is reduced to simple phrases or even single words, eventually leading to complete loss of speech.
Despite the loss of verbal language abilities, people can often understand and return emotional signals. Although aggressiveness can still be present, extreme apathy and exhaustion are much more common symptoms.
People with Alzheimer's disease will ultimately not be able to perform even the simplest tasks independently; muscle mass and mobility deteriorate to the point where they are bedridden and unable to feed themselves. The cause of death is usually an external factor, such as infection of pressure ulcers or pneumonia, not the disease itself.
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