Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with a gradual decline in memory and mental ability, due to the accumulation and spread of damage in the brain. It is an irreversible condition, with symptoms worsening over time.
There is a range of symptoms that a patient may experience. Although how and when these symptoms appear can differ among individuals, certain symptoms are likely to occur at particular stages of the disease.
The disease can be grouped into three different stages according to the symptoms, with stages commonly referred to as mild (early), moderate (middle) or severe (late) Alzheimer’s. A patient may experience any number — or all — of the symptoms that mark each stage. Usually, once a symptom has been identified in a patient, it will continue to increase in severity with time. But sometimes a symptom may disappear in later Alzheimer stages.
In the moderate stage of AD, patients often begin to require more help with day-to-day life and self-care. This can lead to frustration and anger in patients, and can result in them reacting in unexpected ways. Moderate-stage Alzheimer’s tends to be the longest stage, and a patient may remain with moderate disease for many years before the condition again significantly progresses.
In moderate AD, a patient will generally experience many of the symptoms that occur in the mild stages but with an increasing degree of severity. For instance, memory loss may now span to a person forgetting his or her own personal history. Other issues that can arise, leading to a need for close care, are:
- Forgetting locations, resulting in the patient becoming confused and lost. This can be further compounded by being unable to recall personal details, such as home address and telephone number, and increasing agitation that causes the patient to wander.
- Increasing confusion and disorientation, including not knowing what day it is or the time of day. The patient may need extra care dressing in clothes appropriate to the time of day and the season.
- Needing to be reminded to eat, bathe, groom, and use the bathroom. Some patients may experience trouble controlling their bladder and bowel movements.
- Experiencing hallucinations (seeing things that are not there) or delusions (believing things that aren’t true), which can lead to paranoia and aggressive behavior toward family members and caregivers.
- Trouble speaking (aphasia), which can include forgetting words, being unable to sound the word correctly, or making up new words.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Continued mood swings, such as depression, anxiety, confusion, anger, and frustration.
In this middle or moderate Alzheimer’s stage, the patient’s forgetfulness could lead to dangerous situations, like turning on the oven to cook and then walking away.
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.