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How Quickly Does Alzheimer’s Progress

Those Living With Lbd

Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Because LBD progresses at varying rates for each individual, it is not possible to determine how long someone may live with the disease. A person may live as long as 20 years or as short as 2 years after onset of obvious LBD symptoms. Research suggests most people live five to eight years with LBD. Connect With Us Live Facebook Feed

How Long Does It Take For Dementia To Progress In A Patient

Dementia can present itself quite differently from one person to the next.

There are different types of dementia and whilst the disease is most common in those aged over 65, it can also affect much younger people.

Several different factors can affect the rate at which dementia progresses. The disease will progress faster for some people than it will for others.

According to the Dementia UK website, Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, making up around 60% of diagnosed dementia cases in the UK.

The Alzheimers Association says that Alzheimers disease generally progresses quite slowly with people living, on average, between four and eight years after being diagnosed.

Dementia can usually be split into three stages, early, middle, and late.

During the early stages of dementia, a person can usually function as normal but may experience memory lapses where they struggle to remember words or names or regularly misplace or lose items.

Symptoms of middle stage dementia are more noticeable and may begin to make living independently more difficult. They may include changes in personality or mood swings, becoming more forgetful and confused, and requiring help with everyday tasks.

Once a person reaches the final stages of dementia, they may need 24/7 care. During the late stages of dementia symptoms can include loss of awareness, difficulty communicating, and problems with mobility and swallowing.

Why Is Dementia Progressive

Dementia is not a single condition. It is caused by different physical diseases of the brain, for example Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia, DLB and FTD.

In the early stage of all types of dementia only a small part of the brain is damaged. In this stage, a person has fewer symptoms as only the abilities that depend on the damaged part of the brain are affected. These early symptoms are usually relatively minor. This is why mild dementia is used as an alternative term for the early stage.

Each type of dementia affects a different area of the brain in the early stages. This is why symptoms vary between the different types. For example, memory loss is common in early-stage Alzheimers but is very uncommon in early-stage FTD.

As dementia progresses into the middle and later stages, the symptoms of the different dementia types tend to become more similar. This is because more of the brain is affected as dementia progresses.

Over time, the disease causing the dementia spreads to other parts of the brain. This leads to more symptoms because more of the brain is unable to work properly. At the same time, already-damaged areas of the brain become even more affected, causing symptoms the person already has to get worse.

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Beyond Memory Loss: How To Handle The Other Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s

There is a lot of talk about the emotional pain patients and caregivers suffer when a loved one loses memories to Alzheimers. But what about the other symptoms? Here are tips from a Johns Hopkins expert on what to watch for and how to manage.

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Other Conditions With Similar Symptoms

How Fast Does Alzheimer

Early in the disease, Alzheimer’s usually doesn’t affect a person’s fine motor skills or sense of touch. So a person who develops motor symptoms or sensory symptoms probably has a condition other than Alzheimer’s disease. Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, for instance, may cause motor symptoms along with dementia.

Other conditions with symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease may include:

  • Dementia caused by small strokes .
  • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
  • Other problems such as kidney and liver disease and some infections such as HIV .

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What Are The Symptoms

For most people, the first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. Often the person who has a memory problem doesn’t notice it, but family and friends do. But the person with the disease may also know that something is wrong.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s get worse slowly over time. You may:

  • Have trouble making decisions.
  • Be confused about what time and day it is.
  • Get lost in places you know well.
  • Have trouble learning and remembering new information.
  • Have trouble finding the right words to say what you want to say.
  • Have more trouble doing daily tasks like cooking a meal or paying bills.

A person who gets these symptoms over a few hours or days or whose symptoms suddenly get worse needs to see a doctor right away, because there may be another problem.

What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia

Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.

Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.

For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.

The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.

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Mild Alzheimers Or Moderate Decline

Stage 4 lasts about 2 years and marks the beginning of diagnosable Alzheimers disease. You or your loved one will have more trouble with complex but everyday tasks. Mood changes like withdrawal and denial are more evident. Decreased emotional response is also frequent, especially in challenging situations.

New signs of decline that appear in stage 4 may include:

  • losing memory of personal history
  • trouble with handling finances and bills
  • inability to count backward from 100 by 7s

A clinician will also look for a decline in areas mentioned in stage 3, but theres often no change since then.

Caregiver support: Itll still be possible for someone to recall weather conditions, important events, and addresses. But they may ask for help with other tasks like writing checks, ordering food, and buying groceries.

Stage : Normal Outward Behavior

Alzheimers Progression (Help Understanding the Decline)

Alzheimerâs disease usually starts silently, with brain changes that begin years before anyone notices a problem. When your loved one is in this early phase, they won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether they have Alzheimer’s.

As they move into the next six stages, your friend or relative with Alzheimer’s will see more and more changes in their thinking and reasoning.

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Stage : Mild Dementia Due To Alzheimers Disease

The symptoms of Alzheimers disease during this stage are still mild however, close friends and family may begin to notice signs and symptoms of the disease. Work quality will begin to suffer, and the individual is likely to experience problems when trying to learn something new. Although stage three lasts for approximately seven years, symptoms will become more apparent over a span of two to four years. Its during stage three that Alzheimers disease is most often diagnosed, as it becomes apparent to family and medical professionals that the individual is having significant trouble with memory and thinking, so much so, that it impacts day-to-day activities.

In stage three, an individual may require counseling. They may have mild to moderate denial, depression and anxiety. As this stage progresses and their symptoms worsen, they may require caregiving assistance in their home or in a senior care community.

In stage three, individuals may experience:

How Quickly Does Dementia Progress The 7 Stages And 3

Some, like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, are fast moving and rare. Others, for example Lewys body dementia, progressively worsen over time. All these different forms of dementia show a similar pattern. Dementia in three stages. When dementia affects the brain, it progresses through three main stages: early, middle and late. Early. The affected individual can still drive,

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Stage : Preclinical Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimers disease begins long before any symptoms become apparent. An individual who is at the preclinical stage of Alzheimers disease is fully independent and may not even be aware they have the disease. They may not experience any symptoms and if they do, they will be very mild and considered to be normal everyday occurrences, especially for an older adult, such as minor memory lapses forgetting words or where things are kept, things we all forget from time to time. Even a medical examination may indicate no presence of dementia.

This stage is called preclinical because its usually identified only in a research setting. Research laboratories now have new imaging technologies able to identify the common amyloid-beta protein deposits in the brain a hallmark indicator of Alzheimers disease.

Symptoms wont be apparent to you or to those around you yet. This stage can last for many years, possibly even decades, before you notice any symptoms at all.

How Quickly Does Dementia Progress

Stages of dementia, Dementia, End stage dementia

The speed at which dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person because of factors such as:

  • the type of dementia for example, Alzheimers disease tends to progress more slowly than the other types
  • a persons age for example, Alzheimers disease generally progresses more slowly in older people than in younger people
  • other long-term health problems dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well-managed
  • delirium a medical condition that starts suddenly .

There is no way to be sure how quickly a persons dementia will progress. Some people with dementia will need support very soon after their diagnosis. In contrast, others will stay independent for several years.

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The Benefits Of An In

Finding the time to care for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, especially when you have other responsibilities like work and family. By working with an in-home care agency, you and your loved one can reap the benefits of having a trained and experienced caregiver available when you are not able to be there. One of the biggest advantages of acquiring in-home care is your loved ones ability to stay in the home. Remaining in a familiar environment often provides individuals with dementia with security and peace of mind.

Dementia Seems To Have Progressed So Fast To Last

A physical disease, illness, injury, etc. Patti4Mom has already mentioned one of the most notorious causes of dementia-like symtoms — urinary tract infection. Any illness, including colds, flu, contstipation, headaches, pneumonia, a swelling due to a fall, just about anything happening in the body, can make the dementia symptoms far worse.

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How Important Are The Stages Of Dementia

The stages of dementia are just a guide and there is nothing significant about the number three. Equally, dementia doesnt follow an exact or certain set of steps that happen in the same way for every person with dementia.

It can be difficult to tell when a persons dementia has progressed from one stage to another because:

  • some symptoms may appear in a different order to the stages described in this factsheet, or not at all
  • the stages may overlap the person may need help with some aspects of everyday life but manage other tasks and activities on their own
  • some symptoms, particularly those linked to behaviours, may develop at one stage and then reduce or even disappear later on. Other symptoms, such as memory loss and problems with language and thinking, tend to stay and get worse with time.

It is natural to ask which stage a person is at or what might happen next. But it is more important to focus on the person in the present moment. This includes their needs and how they can live well, and how to help them with this.

For more support on living well with dementia see The dementia guide: living well after diagnosis or Caring for a person with dementia: a practical guide .

And for more information about treatment and support for the different types of dementia go to the following pages:

How Is An Rpd Diagnosed

Episode #49 – The progression of dementia in 7 months

RPD can be difficult to diagnose, so it is often necessary to see a doctor who specializes in these conditions. The doctor might ask about the patients progression of symptoms, any similar illnesses in biological relatives or any recent possible exposures . The doctor may request some laboratory testing, such as blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid brain imaging and/or an electroencephalogram . The information gathered by the physician and tests might help to determine the cause of disease.

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Symptoms Of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Some people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimers. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimers disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:

  • Losing things often
  • Forgetting to go to events or appointments
  • Having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from MedlinePlus.

What Are The Average Life Expectancy Figures For The Most Common Types Of Dementia

The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows:

  • Alzheimers disease around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimers live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.
  • Vascular dementia around five years. This is lower than the average for Alzheimers mostly because someone with vascular dementia is more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack than from the dementia itself.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies about six years. This is slightly less than the average for Alzheimers disease. The physical symptoms of DLB increase a persons risk of falls and infections.
  • Frontotemporal dementia about six to eight years. If a person has FTD mixed with motor neurone disease a movement disorder, their dementia tends to progress much quicker. Life expectancy for people who have both conditions is on average about two to three years after diagnosis.

To find out about the support available to someone at the end of their life, and to their carers, family and friends, see our End of life care information.

You can also call Alzheimers Society on 0333 150 3456 for personalised advice and support on living well with dementia, at any stage.

Dementia Connect support line

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Mild Impairment Or Decline

The symptoms of Alzheimers are less clear during stage 3. While the entire stage lasts about 7 years, the symptoms will slowly become clearer over a period of 2 to 4 years. Only people close to someone in this stage may notice the signs. Work quality will decline, and they may have trouble learning new skills.

Other examples of stage 3 signs include:

  • getting lost even when traveling a familiar route
  • finding it hard to remember the right words or names
  • being unable to remember what you just read
  • not remembering new names or people
  • misplacing or losing a valuable object

Your doctor or clinician may also have to conduct a more intense interview than usual to discover cases of memory loss.

Caregiver support: At this stage, someone with Alzheimers may need counseling, especially if they have complex job responsibilities. They may experience mild to moderate anxiety and denial.

The Middle Stage Of Dementia

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In the middle stage of dementia, symptoms become more noticeable and the person will need more support in managing daily life. This stage of dementia is often the longest. On average it lasts about two to four years.

The progression and stages of dementia

In the middle stage of dementia, symptoms become more noticeable and the person will need more support in managing daily life. The person may now need frequent reminders and some help to wash and dress .

Some people with dementia will benefit from a paid carer coming into their home. Or some may move into housing with dementia support on site .

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Stage : Moderate Decline

During this period, the problems in thinking and reasoning that you noticed in stage 3 get more obvious, and new issues appear. Your friend or family member might:

  • Forget details about themselves
  • Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check
  • Forget what month or season it is
  • Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu
  • Struggle to use the telephone
  • Not understand what is said to them
  • Struggle to do tasks with multiple steps like cleaning the house.

You can help with everyday chores and their safety. Make sure they aren’t driving anymore, and that no one tries to take advantage of them financially.


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