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What is Alzheimer's disease (AD)?
It is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities by the degradation of memory.
How do the stages proceed?
- Alzheimer's begins slowly. It first involves the parts of your brain that control thought, memory and language.
- Stages: Mild, Moderate, Severe
When does it happen? Who is at risk?
Alzheimer's usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.
There is no treatment that can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.
Stage Mild symptoms
- has difficulty learning new thing and making new memories
- forget some words and substitute them for other words with similar sounds
- Loses her way going to familiar places
- tries not to talk in order not to make mistakes
- Forgets where things go or loses things by placing them in odd places
- Resists change
- asks repetitive questions
- angry when frustrated or tired
- Do not make decisions "ill have what she'll have"
- takes longer doing chores
- forgets to pay, pays too much, forgets how to pay
- forgets how to eat, eats only one thing, eats constantly
- mixes identities, son is brother, wife is stranger
- Forgets how to do daily activities
- when left alone may wander and risk exposure
- awakes at night thinking it is time to work
- Thinks mirror image is following or that tv story is happening to her
- cannot organize thoughts or follor logical directions
- Repetitive motions
Stage Moderate Symptoms
- cannot formulate the correct response to written request
- inappropriate behavior: cursing, threatening, hitting, biting, screaming or grabbing.
- May see, hear, smell or taste things that are not there
- May accuse spouse of an affair or family member of stealing
- Makes up stories to fill gaps in memory.
Stage Severe Symptoms
- Does not recognize self or close family
- Speaks in gibberish, is mute or can't be understood
- May refuse to eat, chokes or forgets to swallow.
- Repetitively cry out, or pat or touch things
- Loses control of bowel or bladder
- Loses weight and skin becomes thin and tear easily
- May look uncomfortable or cry out when transferred or touched
- Forgets to walk or is too unsteady to walk alone
- May have seizures, infections and falls
- Needs total assistance for all activities of daily living.