What Are the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease Prior to Death?


Quick Answer

The stages of Alzheimer's disease are normal outward behavior, very mild changes, mild decline, moderate decline and moderately severe decline, as well as severe decline and very severe decline, according to WebMD. Symptoms progress and range from none to the inability to eat and walk.

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What Are the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease Prior to Death?
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Full Answer

Mayo Clinic refers to the initial stage of Alzheimer's disease as preclinical. Only a positron emission tomography scan detects the deposits of amyloid beta associated with the disease. Mild changes in memory and the ability to think mark the onset of the second stage. Short-term memory lapses or difficulties judging the steps or time necessary to complete a task occur.

Decline and dementia describe the remaining stages of Alzheimer's disease. During mild decline, the patient experiences difficulty remembering recent events, repeats questions and misplaces objects, reports WebMD. In moderate decline, the patient displays more pronounced difficulty with memory and begins to forget details about herself, dates and seasons. She may struggle with cooking, and at this stage, it is no longer safe for her to drive an automobile.

A patient in moderately severe dementia no longer remembers her address or telephone number and becomes confused regarding where she is or what day of the week it is. During severe decline, a patient experiences major personality changes, such as paranoia and compulsive movements. Very severe decline includes the inability to speak, sit upright and smile, according to the Alzheimer's Association. This final stage includes abnormal reflexes, impaired swallowing and muscle rigidity.

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