Mild (Early-Stage) Alzheimer’s Disease

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) experience a slow progressive decline in memory and cognitive ability, among other symptoms, due to the spread of damage in the brain. Generally, the disease is categorized by three stages, which serve as a guide and mark disease progression based on its symptoms. They are mild (early), moderate (middle), and severe (late) stage AD.

In mild AD, the changes in a person’s abilities or behavior may only be minor. As a result, the symptoms may not be noticed as a sign of AD, and may not be noticeable to others, except those who are close to the patient like family members and close friends.

People with early-stage Alzheimer’s are mostly independent, and can usually perform the same actions they could prior to the onset of the disease, such as driving, working, and engaging in social activities. However, they may need assistance with some more complicated tasks. The most common feature of mild AD is lapses in memory and concentration, making it more difficult to recall recent events and to learn new things.

The distinct symptoms a patient may experience differ among individuals and some symptoms may not appear until the later stages of AD, or not at all. Once a symptom is evident, it tends to worsen with time. However, some may disappear in later stages, such as irritability.

Common symptoms that may develop during the mild stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Minor memory loss, such as forgetting what has just been read, misplacing items, and repeating questions
  • Difficulty recalling some names or words
  • Mood swings, including bouts of depression, anxiety, irritability, and apathy. This can lead to changes in personality, such as becoming withdrawn or lacking motivation
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Difficulty learning new ideas, and a lack of willingness to try new things
  • Difficulty maintaining concentration, such as losing the train of thought in mid-sentence or losing interest quickly in an activity
  • Slowed speech
  • Showing poor judgment and decision-making

In the mild stage of AD, it is important to allow the patient to maintain independence and keep active, as this can help prevent anxiety and depression, and may help maintain skills for a longer period of time.

Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.