The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and it is said that without a cure, the number of Americans suffering from this condition will jump to about 16 million by 2050. A couple of reasons for this are due to the fastest-growing population who are reaching their 80s right now as well as the lack of medication that can slow down much less cure the condition.
As eyebrow-raising as that last figure might be, doctors do have a fair understanding as to who it affects the most, what happens when one is afflicted with Alzheimer’s and how things can be made easier for the patient, considering the way this condition affects him or her as the days go by.
In a nutshell, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease where people lose ability to function normally as they move from stage to stage with this disease.
So what are the common stages of disease in Alzheimer’s?
For starters, there are three common stages, and they are classified as follows:
Stage #1: Mild
This is the first stage and it lasts from two to four years. Not only are they less energetic or spontaneous but they will have difficulty with organizing thoughts, remembering recent events, knowing where they or their belongings are or even making sound judgments, solving complex tasks or problems.
Most patients in this stage will also display personality changes where they might withdraw or even show irritability or anger. Motivation to complete tasks and drop in attention span is also a part of this stage.
Stage #2: Moderate
In the second stage, it gets more difficult because an increase in confusion as well as forgetfulness occurs as a result. Patients can suffer with moderate Alzheimer’s disease for a period anywhere between two to ten years, and is the longest stage among the three.
While they can still perform simple tasks during this stage, they will need with more complex ones. Personal history and recent events are forgotten while disorientation with reality and confusion between memories of the present and the distant past are also observed.
Issues with speech and writing are a part of this stage and patients might not be safe if they are left to go out on their own. Most of all, they will have serious problems with eating, grooming, dressing and being able to sleep properly.
Stage #3: Severe
This is the final and worst stage of Alzheimer’s disease and one during the patient remains bedridden for the most part due to their inability to carry basic functions such as feeding themselves, recognize people who they are close to, speak, handle body functions such as bowel or bladder control or even swallow food. It’s unfortunate that people in this stage often succumb to a number of diseases due to being in a physically weakened state. Caregivers will have devote their complete attention to the patient in this last and final stage.