Three Stages of Dementia

As the leading Nursing Agency in London, we’re continuing our blog posts on the most asked questions.

Dementia is a chronic disease that affects a person’s ability to think, remember and reason. It is a general term used for memory loss and encompasses a broad range of conditions linked to abnormal brain activity. The cells of the brain are affected, due to which they cannot communicate and function naturally, thus leading to the disease.

All conditions linked to dementia cause a decline in cognitive abilities affects behaviour feelings, thus affecting daily life activities. They are progressive, meaning they start slowly and gradually and, with time, get worse. They are persistent and remain throughout the person’s life.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of dementia are pretty general. Anyone can notice them. The best and the smartest thing to do when you notice these symptoms is to go to a doctor so that if it is dementia, it is ruled out in the early stages and can be treated well. Some symptoms of the disorder include memory loss, impaired judgment, problems performing easy tasks, difficulty speaking and with language, changes in mood and behaviour and changes in personality.

Different Types

Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather it includes a variety of forms or diseases. The types of dementia that are irreversible include;

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease
  2. Frontotemporal dementia
  3. Lewy body dementia
  4. Vascular dementia
  5. Mixed dementia

Other diseases of dementia include;

  1. Huntington’s disease
  2. Traumatic brain injury
  3. Creutzfeldt Jakob disease
  4. Parkinson’s disease

Diagnosis of Dementia

Testing and diagnosing dementia in a patient is quite a difficult task as dementia exists in various forms, varies in severity, and has many multiple underlying causes. Diseases that lead to dementia, the underlying causes, symptoms, physical examination, medical history of the person and his family all need to be assessed and examined.

Stages of Dementia

Dementia is a progressive disease, which means that it progresses through stages. The symptoms start mild, but they progress and become worse with time. So the stages can be defined as mild, moderate and severe or early, middle and late.

These stages of dementia are not fixed, or they do not describe a pattern in which each and every person with dementia will follow suit. Instead, this is just a guide for assigning treatments and medications according to the symptoms. It is very difficult to conclude when a person with dementia has passed on from one stage to another because the symptoms vary, not appearing in a fixed order. Sometimes, they appear in one stage and disappear later on.

  1. Early or Mild Stage

It all starts with mild symptoms like forgetting things, not remembering details, and struggling with talking, leading to severe symptoms. People can go performing their daily activities at this stage, but sudden attacks of symptoms can occur like forgetting names, locations, and words. Diagnosing dementia at this stage is very difficult. Most people do not care to consult a doctor and associate their symptoms to old age, stress, or any other reason. But ruling dementia at this stage is quite helpful, as treatment and care can be started early on.

  1. Middle or Moderate Stage

The middle stage is the most prolonged stage of dementia, and this stage can last for years. People in this stage are disturbed out as they cannot remember basic things, forget while talking, struggle with everyday tasks, suffer from behavioural and personality changes. The symptoms are all quite apparent, and people around you can notice them very quickly.

  1. Late or Severe Stage

In the last stage of dementia, people become unable to do their daily tasks and go out into the world. Communication and coordination are challenging for them. Their memory is the worst at this point. Their personality has completely faded away. The person is disabled and requires constant care and supervision. The patient is unable to converse and control their movement. With time, the symptoms worsen, such that the patient loses their physical abilities like walking, sitting etc.

While dementia is a life-limiting disease, people can live well with the condition as it lowers life expectancy. Family and friends support with proper care can make this time accessible. Dementia cannot be treated, but the symptoms can be managed, and their progression can be slowed by taking medications like cholinesterase Inhibitors memantine, attending therapy sessions, focusing on communicating with people around you, exercising, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle and keeping doing things that make you happy and content.

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