7 Alzheimer's Disease Stages and Symptoms

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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.

Quick GuideCaring for Someone With Alzheimer's Disease

Caring for Someone With Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease symptoms and stages facts

  • Alzheimer's disease is a generalized deterioration of brain function that progresses in individuals.
  • Depending upon which experts are researched, Alzheimer's disease can have as few as three or as many as seven stages (some stages may include sub stages), but all agree on a gradual and progressive loss of brain functions; the global deterioration scale (GDS) is widely accepted and has seven stages.
  • Stage 1: no symptoms
  • Stage 2: symptoms include mild memory loss, decreased concentration, forgetting names
  • Stage 3: symptoms include forgetting new information, declining work performance, difficulties with future plans and organizational problems, repeating questions
  • Stage 4: symptoms include difficulties with complex actions, can't plan ahead, depression, withdrawn, shun challenging situations
  • Stage 5: symptom include difficulties remembering home address or phone number, need assistance for common tasks such as making a meal, disorientation to time and/or place, a decline in personal hygiene habits
  • Stage 6: symptoms include requiring assistance in getting dressed, forgetting names of close family members, personality changes including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, needs assistance with personal hygiene, may require constant monitoring
  • Stage 7: the person may not be able to talk or respond rationally, may not be able to control muscle movements, may not be able to sit upright, and eventually, some individuals will not be able to swallow food or liquids
Reviewed on 5/12/2016

Alzheimer's Association. Stages of Alzheimer's.

Anderson, H. "Alzheimer Disease." Medscape. Updated May 04, 2016.

Alzheimer's Association. "What is Alzheimer's?"

Reisberg, B. "Clinical stages of Alzheimer's." Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation.



2.Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on Aging






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