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The Stages of Alzheimers Disease

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Every 70 seconds, someone develops Alzheimers and in 2006, there were 26.6 millions sufferers worldwide.
The disease is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people by 2050. Thats why we are taking a closer look in our latest blog series to not only

identify key symptom and the stages of Alzheimers but also to identify what family caregivers and loved ones can do for someone who is living with this disease.

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So what is Alzheimers Disease (AD)? Imagine losing your memory so severely you forget your name and the names of those you love.
Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia, which is serious loss

of cognitive ability in a previously unaffected person, beyond what may be expected from normal aging. There is no cure for Alzheimers, which worsens as it progresses and eventually leads to death. Most often, AD is diagnosed in people over the age of 65, but early-onset Alzheimers can occur much earlier.

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There are four stages of Alzheimers Disease:


Pre-dementia Early Moderate Advanced

Image : http://www.askdrmakkar.com/images/AD_2003.jpg

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Pre-dementia The first symptoms are often mistaken for aging or stress. Testing can reveal mild cognitive trouble for up to eight years before an actual diagnosis of AD. The biggest change is memory loss, which involves short-term memory loss and an inability to learn new information. Apathy can be observed at this stage and remains the most prevalent symptom throughout the course of AD.

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Early The increasing impairment of learning and memory eventually leads to a definitive diagnosis. In a small portion of AD victims, problems with language, executive functions, perception and movements are more prominent than memory problems.
Older memories of the persons life, facts learned and implicit memory

(the bodys memory on how to do things, like using a fork to eat) are affected to a lesser degree than new facts or memories.

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Early This stage features a limited vocabulary and decreased word fluency. The person is capable of communicating basic ideas. Motor tasks such as writing, drawing, dressing or movement coordination may be present but are unnoticed. As the disease progresses, people with AD can continue to do things on their own, but they may need assistance with the most cognitively demanding activities.

Image: http://www.ahaf.org/assets/images/brain_cross_section_border.jpg

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Moderate In this stage, deterioration stymies independence with subjects unable to perform the most common activities of daily living. Speech, reading and writing skills are progressively lost. Motor skills decrease, so the risk of falling increases. Memory problems worsen, and the person may fail to recognize close relatives. Long-term memory, which previously was available, becomes impaired.

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Moderate Drastic behavioral changes are common, including wandering, irritability, crying, outbursts of aggression and resistance to caregiving. According to the European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 30 percent of people with AD can become delusional. Victims can also have trouble controlling their bladder. These symptoms can create stress for caregivers. The stress can be reduced by moving the person with AD from home care to long-term care facilities.

Image: http://faithanatomy.wikispaces.com/file/view/Alzheimers.gif/33605315/Alzheimers.gif

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Advanced During the last stage, the person is completely dependent upon caregivers. Language is reduced to simple phrases and words, which leads to complete speech loss. Despite this, people can understand emotional signals.

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Advanced Aggressiveness can still be present, but extreme apathy and exhaustion are very common. In this stage, people are often confined to their bed and lose the ability to feed themselves. AD is terminal, but pneumonia or other external factors are usually the cause of death.

For even more information and resources on Alzheimers Disease, click here. Or, to find care or support for a loved one, visit www.brightstarcare.com/lifecare.
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