Because Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition, symptoms can vary depending on the severity. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the following are the most common symptoms of Alzheimer's among all stages of the disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently:
- memory loss that affects job skills
- difficulty performing familiar tasks
- problems with language
- disorientation to time and place
- poor or decreased judgment
- problems with abstract thinking
- misplacing things
- changes in mood or behavior
- changes in personality
- loss of initiative
Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, symptoms may not be as noticeable as one would expect. Simple memory problems or thinking problems may become regular. The individual may have trouble finding the right words to effectively communicate. Some also experience limitations in the ability to move.
As the disease progresses, changes in cognitive abilities become more prominent and memory loss may worsen. The individual may get lost more often, have trouble managing money, take longer to complete normal tasks, lose items or misplace them in odd places and experience changes in mood or personality.
Moderate Alzheimer's disease brings about worsening symptoms due to damage in the brain that controls reasoning, conscious thought and language. The individual may become more confused and have problems recognizing loved ones. Additionally, those with moderate Alzheimer's disease have trouble completing tasks that involve multiple steps, have problems coping with new situations, may become impulsive and may experience hallucinations or paranoia.
In the late stages of Alzheimer's, the individual becomes completely dependent on others for their care. Control over bodily functions and movement minimizes causing difficulty with swallowing, loss of bladder and bowel control and the inability to communicate. Weight loss, skin infections and increased sleep may also present at this stage of the disease.
The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Learn more about the diagnosis process for Alzheimer's disease.