Stages of Alzheimer s Disease

There are numerous stages of Alzheimer s disease classifications. Some are no longer used. Some are only used in certain specialties like hospice.

What are the different Alzheimer s disease stages or ad stages? What is AHOPE that hospice uses and what is end stage late stage AD?

Most important of all, studies show that each stage is associated with an increase in oxidative stressors in the brain. This is something that many studies indicate can be successfully treated.

Why the Staging Systems

Why are there several stages of Alzheimer s Disease? The staging systems will allow both health care professionals, patients and their families to to make decisions as the disease progresses.

There are numerous decisions to be made. Financial, independence, legal, safety and health care to name a few. Preparations like durable power of attorney and health care durable power of attorneys will need to be created. There will eventually be end of life decisions to make. Hospice and advance directives will need to be considered.

The progression of AD is unique for each individual. Some may have text book progression of the symptoms and others may not have some of the symptoms at all.

Difference in Classifications

Do not get hung up on the classifications. AD is a very unique and complex disease. Add to this the unique differences of the various people who have this and it becomes nearly impossible to make a definitive statement as to where anyone is.

Also there are several different classifications of the stages of Alzheimer s disease. The various stagings show that there is still disagreement between the experts.

So a person could be a stage on by one classification and a stage two by another.

The Alzheimer's Disease Centers is trying to develop a Uniform Data Set or UDS which will include a comprehensive set of test for determining the progression of the disease. Until it is universal, you will need to know which staging is used.

The USD is further developed, it will include information on what the normal or base line is for various ethnic groups and long term studies on those with no disease as well as individuals with mild cognitive impairment or MCI, with Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia.

Mild Cognitive Impairment: The Alzheimer s Precursor

Mild cognitive impairment is considered a precursor or transition stage. It is between the cognitive decline experienced in normal aging and the more serious cognitive loss caused by Alzheimer's disease.

MCI can affect reading and writing, language, attention, reasoning and judgment.

However, the most common variety of mild cognitive impairment causes memory problems.

In studies of individuals over age 65, MCI is found in between 3% to 19% of those tested. Many are able to continue the activities of daily living by using compensation techniques. Over 50% of these progress to dementia within 5 years.

By age 70, MCI affects about 20 percent of the population according to the American College of Physicians. Where this will end up in the stages of Alzheimer s disease is anybodies guess. Time will tell.

Stages of Alzheimer s Disease

Three Stages is one of the earliest classifications of AD. It divided AD into three stages.

  • Mild, Moderate and Severe
  • Early, Mid, Late
  • First, Second, Third
  • Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3

Four Stages: As understanding about AD continued to grow, the three stage classification was inadequate. A classification with a fourth stage was added. This allowed for more detail about the symptoms that could accompany the stages.

The classifications are...

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Profound

Stages 5, 6, and 7

The additional classifications are the result of different interpretations of the studies on the progression of AD.

Alzheimer's-Hospice Placement Evaluation Scale (AHOPE)

Hospice will often use the term End Stage Alzheimer's or Late Stage Alzheimer's. This terminology is not related to the above mentioned stagings. It is a combination of the FAST scale and other criteria. This is because Alzheimer's is only one of many types of dementia that are used to decide if the patient qualifies for Hospice.

Because dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT) when compared to other illnesses, is so unique, there are other criteria that will qualify or disqualify a patient from being admitted to hospice.

Since there are various related qualifiers, the AHOPE will not be listed here. If you think a loved one qualifies for hospice, only a hospice trained staff member is qualified to tell if a patient can be admitted to hospice.

This is only an overview of the stages of Alzheimer s disease. More specific explanations will be added in the future.

More on Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimers Disease and Glutathione and how it can help according to studies from PubMed.

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