7 Alzheimer's Disease Stages and Symptoms

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What is Alzheimer's disease?

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Alzheimer's disease is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle-aged individuals, but usually occurs in individuals that are 60 years old or older. The disease is due to generalized deterioration of brain function. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of premature senility.

What are the signs, symptoms, and stages of Alzheimer's disease?

Although the course of Alzheimer's disease varies from person to person, several stages are recognized. How many stages are recognized depends on what expert you consult (described stages may range from 3 to 7). Almost all experts agree that there at least three major stages

  1. mild,
  2. moderate, and
  3. severe.

Those that list up to seven stages do so by breaking the three stages into subsets (for example, the severe stage is broken into severe decline and very severe decline). These stages are defined by certain signs and symptoms. The object of this article is to list those signs and symptoms that usually appear in these stages. Unfortunately, some affected individuals may have some symptoms that may cross over stages.

Affected individuals, family members, and others are often told that the patient has mild, moderate or severe disease. However, others are told they are in one of seven Alzheimer's stages (stages previously used by some physicians and other health-care professionals). This seven stage designation is termed the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS). A few other experts even break down the 7 stages into subsets (for example, stage into 6a -6f). Moreover, the stages have various names depending on who is describing them. Consequently, individuals can be confused if they hear about various "stages" of Alzheimer's disease. In an effort to clarify the situation, all seven Global Deterioration Scale will be presented along with their names (subsets will not be presented) and then each Global Deterioration Scale will then be rated as mild, moderate or severe.

Stage 1: No impairment

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Global Deterioration Scale stage 1 of Alzheimer's disease is termed "no impairment," which means that the person has no noticeable symptoms, and is fully independent with no memory or reasoning problems (mild Alzheimer's disease).

  • no noticeable memory problems
  • no noticeable reasoning problems
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/1/2015

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Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms - Stage 1 Question: What early symptoms of stage one did someone you know experience with Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms - Stage 6 Question: What symptoms did you or someone you know experience in the stage 6 of Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms - Stage 3 Question: What symptoms did you or someone you know experience during the third stage of Alzheimer's disease?
7 Alzheimer's Disease Stages - Experience Question: Please share your experiences with the stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms

Alzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia and its associated symptoms. One of the the main and often the first symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory problems that develop slowly over time. Symptoms that develop later include

  • personality changes (for example, apathy),
  • withdrawal, and
  • reduced spontaneity.