What are the 7 stages of Alzheimer's disease?

The progression of Alzheimer's disease is often described in terms of stages, although it's important to note that individuals may experience the stages differently, and the rate of progression can vary. The commonly referenced stages are based on a framework established by Dr. Barry Reisberg, a geriatric psychiatrist. These stages are often referred to as the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia (GDS). Here are the seven stages:

1. **Stage 1: No Impairment (Normal Function):** At this stage, there are no noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Memory and cognitive function are intact, and the individual is considered to have normal cognitive function.

2. **Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline (Age-Associated Memory Impairment):** This stage may include normal forgetfulness associated with aging, such as forgetting names or where one left common items. At this point, these mild memory lapses do not significantly interfere with daily life.

3. **Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline (Mild Cognitive Impairment):** This stage is characterized by noticeable cognitive decline that may be more than expected for someone of that age. Individuals may experience difficulties with memory, concentration, or finding the right words. These changes may start affecting daily life.

4. **Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline (Mild or Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease):** In this stage, clear signs of cognitive decline are evident. Memory gaps become more pronounced, and individuals may have trouble with tasks that involve organization and planning. They may withdraw from social and work activities.

5. **Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline (Moderate or Mid-Stage Alzheimer's Disease):** During this stage, individuals may require assistance with basic daily activities. Memory loss is significant, and there may be confusion about the time and place. Behavioral and personality changes may become more apparent.

6. **Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline (Moderately Severe or Late-Stage Alzheimer's Disease):** Individuals in this stage require substantial assistance with daily activities. Memory continues to decline, and they may have difficulty recognizing family members and may be unaware of their surroundings. Behavioral symptoms, such as agitation and aggression, may increase.

7. **Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline (Severe or Late-Stage Alzheimer's Disease):** This is the final stage, characterized by a profound loss of cognitive and physical function. Individuals may lose the ability to speak, walk, and control movement. They require full assistance with all activities of daily living, and the risk of infections and other complications increases.

It's important to keep in mind that these stages provide a general framework and that the progression of Alzheimer's disease can vary widely among individuals. Additionally, not everyone will experience all the stages, and the duration of each stage can vary. Early diagnosis and intervention can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for both individuals with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.