Alzheimer’s disease can be regarded as a degenerative disease that gradually weakens the memory and other cognitive functions managed in the brain. The disease normally attains several stages before it becomes a full-blown disorder, these stages are;
1. The No-impairment stage
According to Alz.org, roughly 200,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease, are recorded on a yearly basis, in the United States of America alone. Everyone who suffers from this disorder seems to experience the symptoms differently. The no-impairment phase is the first stage of the disease and at this stage, Alzheimer’s is not detectable because there is no memory impairment recorded. Similarly, no symptoms of dementia are undetectable at this stage.
2. The mild decline phase
The progression of Alzheimer’s disease in seniors usually results in minor memory issues. For instance, senior citizens may lose minor things around the house. Most patients think it is normal to lose things around the house at this stage and having a memory test is the only way the disease can be detected at this stage.
3. The mild decline phase
This is the stage at which friends, close associates, and family members begin to notice a cognitive decline in an Alzheimer’s disease patient. Most physicians are capable of detecting mild impairments in cognitive functions at this stage. In most cases, the physician will perform cognitive performance tests to ascertain Alzheimer’s condition. Most patients in phase three of this disease may have difficulty in several ears which include; finding it difficult to use the right word during conversations, and finding it difficult to remember the names of new acquaintances. In most cases, the sufferer may find it difficult to organize and plan. The loss of personal possessions is quite common at this stage.
4. The Moderate decline phase
At the fourth phase of the disease, the clear symptoms become more apparent. At this stage, the patient will experience difficulty in several ways. For instance, the patient may find simple mathematical calculations, very difficult. The patient may develop poor short-term memory – for instance, they may not remember what they ate for breakfast or lunch. The inability of the individual to manage basic finances or even pay bills, become more serious, and in some cases, they may forget details about their life histories.
5. The moderately severe cognitive decline phase
At the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s disease, victims will begin to request for help, with assistance on a numerous day to day activities. Individuals experiencing the disease at this stage may find it difficult to dress appropriately, and may even be unable to recall details about themselves, for instance, they may not even remember their own phone numbers off-head. What to know about this face is that there is significant confusion in the mind of the victim.
6. The struggling phase
Interestingly, there is some Alzheimer’s disease who are still able to function independently and maintain their daily functionality at this phase. This means they are able to use the bathroom and the toilet without any assistance. In most cases, individuals who pass through the struggling face are still able to remember their immediate family members, such as children, brothers, sisters, cousins, and nephews but may find it difficult to remember their grandchildren and other younger members of the extended family. Interestingly, many patients who undergo this phase are able to recall their childhood histories.
7. The severe decline phase
According to Alzheimers.net, this is the face of Alzheimer’s disease where the victim will require constant supervision and professional assistance. One of the main symptoms of the severe decline phase is total confusion and being unaware of one’s immediate environment as well as surroundings. The inability of the patient to recognize the faces of his family members except for the faces of close associates and relatives. The inability of the patient to remember details about their personal histories is another common issue at this phase, also, loss of total control over the bladder and bowel is more severe.
The severe decline phase is where most of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease show up fully. The individual may develop major personality changes alongside problems associated with loss of control over one’s behavior. This is the phase at which the victim will require special assistance for bathing and the use of the toilet. The patient may occasionally wander away from the home. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at this stage may also become worse with the presence of other medical conditions such as diabetes, and heart diseases.
8. Very severe decline phase
This is the last phase of Alzheimer’s disease progression. Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease and individuals who make it to this phase are nearing their death. In the final phase of the disease, the victim may lose completely his or her ability to communicate, or even respond to his or her immediate environment. Though they may still be capable of uttering some words and phrases, they have probably lost insight into the medical condition, and they will require professional assistance when handling day to day activities. In some cases, the individual may eventually lose his or her ability to swallow food.
As bad as it may seem, Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that can be well managed or even prevented, especially when it is recognized at its onset. Exercising is one of the unanimously accepted ways of reducing the risks of the disease and to slow down the progression of its symptoms in middle age and senior citizens. Anaerobic exercises such as moderate weightlifting have been found to have the most positive effect on the body but combining such exercises with aerobic activities will double the effects.
It is also believed that making dietary changes whereby more Mediterranean dishes comprising of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, omega 3, and 6 fatty oils, legumes, poultry eggs, and fish, can also reduce the risks of developing the disease. There is growing evidence that getting enough rest and sleep can help clear out your thyroid gland, and improve your quality of living. Exercising your brain, especially by reading a new book or taking up a healthy hobby such as learning a musical instrument can help retain memory and boost cognitive functioning. (See also: Caring for a Loved One With Alzheimer’s or Other Dementia)
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.