While memory loss may seem like a normal part of aging, Alzheimer’s is far from normal. It is a serious and sometimes aggressive form of dementia that will eventually rob the patient of cognitive and physical abilities. Complications often arise that can even lead to death. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it accounts for 60 to 80-percent of all dementia cases.
While there are treatments that can slow down the progression, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, and it tends to follow a particular pattern from initial symptoms to the end result. If you’re the patient, you may be aware of your illness for the first few stages, but won’t know you’re sick by the end.
Here are the seven steps to expect if you’re caring for someone with the disease…
Healthline says the first stage of Alzheimer’s is not very much like dementia at all. In fact, at this point you may only know about your risk (or a loved one’s risk) of developing Alzheimer’s based on family history. “Or your doctor may identify biomarkers that indicate your risk,” it adds.
You will be interviewed by a doctor about your memory if you’re at risk, but there probably aren’t any noticeable symptoms at this first stage – “which can last for years or decades,” notes the source. (To help read about Normal Aging vs. Alzheimer’s: Key Differences).