Savoir reconnaitre les 5 stades de la maladie d’Alzheimer ?

Presse Santé

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurocognitive disorder that worsens over time. It involves a gradual loss of memory, as well as changes in behavior, thinking, and language skills. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

Although each person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences the disease differently, its typical course can be broken down into a series of 5 stages. However, it is essential to ensure that a person with dementia has a good quality of life with the disease and that their needs are met, rather than focusing on the stage they may have reached.

The 5 stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease primarily affects older people and usually develops over several years. Looking at Alzheimer’s disease in stages can provide a clearer picture of the possible changes that could affect a person after they are diagnosed. Stadiums can only be a rough guide and many different ‘stadium’ systems have been devised by experts over the years. Some people consider the disease to have seven stages, while others speak of only three. The symptoms that appear and when they appear vary from person to person.

In this article, we discuss Alzheimer’s disease in five stages:

Stage 1: preclinical Alzheimer’s disease
Stage 2: mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease
Stage 3: mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease
Stage 4: moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease
Stage 5: severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, problem solving, or language. In a person with dementia, these symptoms are severe enough to affect daily life.

Stage 1: preclinical Alzheimer’s disease

Functional changes due to Alzheimer’s disease can begin years or even decades before diagnosis. This long phase is known as the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease. During this stage, the person has no appreciable clinical symptoms. Although there are no visible symptoms in the preclinical stage, imaging technologies can detect deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid.

In people with Alzheimer’s disease, this protein clumps together and forms plaques. These groups of proteins can block intercellular signaling and activate cells of the immune system that trigger inflammation and destroy damaged cells. Other biological markers, or biomarkers, can indicate whether a person is more likely to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic tests can also detect an increased risk. Imaging technology that can locate clusters of beta-amyloid, detection of biomarkers, and genetic testing could be important in the future as scientists develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers are studying this preclinical stage to determine what factors may predict the risk of progression from normal cognition to stage 2 Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also hope that their studies will help people with Alzheimer’s disease access treatment at an earlier stage. Disease-modifying therapies may be more effective in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and may slow the progression of the disease.

Stage 2: Mild Cognitive Impairment

Both advanced age and Alzheimer’s disease can cause forgetfulness, but not everyone develops dementia as they age. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is cognitive decline greater than that which occurs in normal aging, but occurs before the more severe decline of dementia. Between 15 and 20 percent of people age 65 and older have MCI. It is important to note that not everyone with MCI will develop dementia. About 10 to 15 percent of people with MCI develop dementia each year.

A person with MCI may notice subtle changes in their thinking and ability to remember things. You may have memory lapses when trying to remember recent conversations, events, or appointments. However, changes in memory and thinking are not severe enough at this stage to cause problems with daily life or usual activities. It’s normal for people to become more forgetful as they age or take longer to think of a word or remember a name. However, if a person has significant difficulty performing these tasks, it may be a sign of mild cognitive impairment.

The symptoms of MCI are as follows

– forget things more often
– forget recent appointments, conversations or events
– inability to make decisions or feeling overwhelmed when doing so
– an increasing inability to measure the passage of time or the sequence of steps to complete a task
– being more impulsive or showing less and less judgment
– the changes become noticeable to friends and family.
– People with MCI may also experience depression, irritability, aggressiveness, apathy and anxiety.

So far, no drug or therapy has been approved to treat mild cognitive impairment. However, studies are underway to identify treatments that might help improve symptoms or prevent or slow its progression to dementia.

Stage 3: mild dementia

The mild dementia stage is when doctors usually diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to becoming noticeable to friends and family, memory and thinking problems can also begin to affect daily life.

Symptoms of mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease include:

– difficulty remembering newly learned information
– ask the same question several times
– difficulty solving problems and completing tasks
– decreased motivation to complete tasks
– loss of judgment
– unusual withdrawal or irritability or anger
– difficulty finding the right words to describe an object or an idea
– lose or misplace objects.

Stage 4: moderate dementia

When a person has moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, they become increasingly confused and forgetful. She may need help with daily tasks and taking care of herself.

Symptoms of moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease are:

– loss of orientation and forgetfulness of the way, even in familiar places
– wander in search of an environment that seems more familiar
– not remembering the day of the week or the season
– mistaking family members for close friends or mistaking strangers for family members
– forget personal information, such as address, phone number and study history
– repeat favorite memories or make up stories to fill in memory gaps
– need help deciding what to wear depending on the weather or season
– needs help bathing and going to the bathroom
– occasional loss of bladder or bowel control
– unduly suspicious of friends and family
– see or hear things that are not there
– fidget or be restless
– have outbursts of anger, which can be aggressive.

Stage 5: severe dementia

Over time, the person with Alzheimer’s disease will need more attention and help with everyday tasks.
At this point, mental functioning continues to decline, while movement and physical abilities may deteriorate significantly.

Symptoms of severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease include:

– an inability to speak and communicate coherently
– the need for full assistance with personal care, feeding, dressing, and toileting
– inability to sit up, hold head up, or walk without assistance
– stiff muscles and abnormal reflexes
– loss of ability to swallow
– inability to control bladder and bowel movements.

A person with a severe form of Alzheimer’s disease has a high chance of dying from pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common cause of death in people with Alzheimer’s disease because the loss of the ability to swallow means that food and drink can enter the lungs and cause infection.

Other common causes of death in people with Alzheimer’s disease are dehydration, malnutrition, and other infections.

disease course

Not all people experience the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease in the same way, and the rate and degree of progression varies from person to person. A person may not have all of the symptoms listed above, and specific symptoms, such as aggression, may appear for a short time and then go away. The stages can also overlap.

Factors that can affect disease progression include:

Age: People whose symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease develop before the age of 65 may have more rapid progression.

Genetic factors: A person’s genes can affect how quickly the disease progresses.

Physical health: People who have poorly controlled heart problems, diabetes or recurrent infections, and those who have had multiple strokes may see their condition deteriorate more quickly.

Staying active, participating in activities, and exercising regularly can help a person keep their skills longer.

Other lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of the disease:

– maintain a healthy diet
– stay mentally and physically active
– get enough sleep
– take all prescribed medications correctly
– give up smoking
– limit or avoid alcohol consumption
– undergo regular health checks.

If a person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences a sudden change in their abilities or behavior, they could have another health problem or an infection. It is essential to seek the advice of a doctor as soon as possible.

The average life expectancy for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is 3 to 11 years after diagnosis, but people can live with Alzheimer’s disease for 20 years or more. If symptoms appear before age 75, the person is likely to live another 7 to 10 years after diagnosis. On the other hand, if symptoms appear at the age of 90 or older, life expectancy is about 3 years.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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