As the world dedicates September as World Alzheimer's Month, the 21st day of this month is observed as Alzheimer’s day every year. World Alzheimer's Day is a global international campaign that aims at raising awareness and challenges related to this progressive neurological condition that impairs memory and other brain functions due to the death of brain cells. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia that causes loss of vital cognitive abilities. Every three seconds someone in the world develops Alzheimer's and despite most people often thinking of this disease as a part of ageing, it is perhaps one of the biggest myths. There is no denying that the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing age, but it doesn’t completely classify the disease as an age-related ailment. Many people are in their forties and fifties when the disease may catch hold of them. About eight percent of the population below the age of 50 suffer from Alzheimer's across the globe.
Basic Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease
Many people have heard of this brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, rational thinking, and decision-making ability. Besides these, here are some key details that everyone must be aware of this condition:
- Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible chronic condition and is not only a typical sign of ageing
- Alzheimer’s and dementia are not the same things. Alzheimer’s is one of the types of dementia
- The symptoms of this neurodegenerative disease come out gradually and cause a slow decline
- Anyone can get affected by Alzheimer’s, but people over 65 years of age and those with a family history of this ailment are more prone to getting it
- No cure for Alzheimer’s has been found yet but treatment can decrease the progression and may improve the quality of life
- The outcome for people with Alzheimer’s is random. Some people may have mild cognitive damage, while others experience a more rapid onset of symptoms and quicker disease progression
7 Stages Of Alzheimer’s
Each person’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease is different and so is the outcome. Broadly, the following seven categories are identified in which this ailment can be divided:
Stage 1: Normal Behavior
Alzheimer’s disease in this early phase is hard to detect as there are no apparent symptoms unless a PET scan, an imaging test is done to find out how the brain is functioning. However, as the patient moves into the next six stages, changes in their thinking and reasoning start to get evident.
Stage 2: Mild Changes
You still might not notice anything amiss in the patient’s behavior but they may be picking up on small differences such as forgetting words or misplacing things. However, these subtle symptoms do not interfere with the ability to work or live independently.
Stage 3: Mild Decline
At this stage changes in the affected person’s thinking and reasoning start to show up. They may forget something they just read or may ask the same question repeatedly. They may not remember names when meeting new people or even their acquaintances.
Stage 4: Moderate Decline
During this period, besides problems in thinking and reasoning, more symptoms start to appear. The person may forget details about themselves or forget the date, month, deadlines, and seasons. They may not understand what is said to them and may even struggle with basic tasks.
Stage 5: Severe Decline
At this stage, the patient will start to lose track of where they are and what time it is. They might have trouble remembering their address, name phone number, and so on.
Stage 6: Extreme Decline
As Alzheimer's progresses to this stage, the person may recognize faces but forget names or vice versa. They might also mistake a person for someone else. Sometimes, even delusions might set in such as the patient thinking he or she is getting late for work while they have no job.
Stage 7: Lack of Physical Control
Many basic abilities in a person at this stage such as eating, walking, and sitting up start to fade. They may start to need to help them go to the bathroom or to feed themselves.