How does dementia progress?


Quick Answer

Dementia progresses through a series of stages that doctors call the Clinical Dementia Rating, states Healthline. There are five stages, each monitoring a number of areas pertaining to a patient's cognition and ability to function.

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Full Answer

The first stage of dementia is called CDR-0, in which the patient experiences no loss of cognition or function, according to Healthline. The patient is fully oriented in time and place and has no significant memory problems. The second stage, CDR-0.5 happens when a patient begins to have minor memory problems. The patient may begin to have trouble with timing or solving challenging tasks. However, the patient is still able to care for herself without any help.

CDR-1 patients have a notable change in all areas of cognition and function, but the changes are generally mild, according to Healthline. The patient's short-term memory loss is affecting parts of her day, and the patient may become disoriented geographically. CDR-2 marks further cognitive and functional degeneration. The patient now requires help when it comes to personal hygiene. She may also become lost quite easily, and short-term memory is impaired to the point that it becomes hard to remember very recent events.

The final stage of dementia, CDR-3 marks the point where the patient cannot function without help, according to Healthline. The patient has extreme memory loss and has no understanding of place or geography. Additionally, it is virtually impossible to go outside and perform everyday activities.

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