Alzheimer’s disease is a form of memory loss which degenerate the nerve cells in the brain. It is progressive in nature and the rate of progression differs from patient to patient.
The progression of the disease is divided into four stages based on the different types of functional impairments at the different stages.
? Predementia: This is the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease. A detailed testing of the brain’s structure and functions can bring forward some kind of cognitive difficulties up to eight years prior to development of Alzheimer’s disease. The most common difficulties at this stage are short term memory loss and inability to grasp new information.
? Early Dementia: In this stage the loss of memory and learning power, along with a small proportion of language, executive or visuoconstructional difficulties, start becoming prominent. However, all the memory sub-capacities like older memories, facts learned, how to do regular activities are not affected to a great extent. The language problem is marked by loss of vocabulary and reduced fluency of words which leads to degradation of written and oral language. However, Alzheimer patients can continue to adequately communicate their basic ideas. Some visoconstructional difficulties may be present in these patients while performing fine motor tasks. The patients with progression of the disease in their middle ages might be able to do the simple regular tasks independently but might need help while performing the complicated tasks.
? Moderate Dementia: At this stage of the disease, the ability to perform tasks independently by the Alzheimer patients is seriously hindered by the progression of the disease. The language problem becomes more prominent in this stage and the patients fall short of words to express themselves. They fail to communicate effectively. Gradually they also forget how to read and write. With time, there is lack of coordination between the complex motor sequences. Due to this the patients lose their ability to perform even the day-to-day activities. There is severe memory loss and the patient might not be able to recognize even close family members and friends. Even the long term memory starts getting impaired. The behaviors of the patients start to change and most often they are not even aware of the shortfalls they are facing. At times the patients might become aggressive and physically violent too. About 30% of Alzheimer patients may also develop illusionary misidentifications and delusional symptoms. Often urinary incontinence also develops.
? Advance: This is the last stage of Alzheimer’s disease. In this stage almost all behaviors become completely automatic. Language knowledge is almost lost. However many patients can continue to share emotional feelings for a long time even after the loss of verbal language. At this stage the patients lack the ability to perform even the simplest tasks. Finally, loss of muscle and physical movements also develop, making the patient bedridden.
Glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, detoxifier and immune booster, is known to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Increasing age causes reduction in the glutathione level in the body. Decreased glutathione levels in the body cause faster progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore it is essential for Alzheimer patients to maintain a stable glutathione level in their body to slow down the progression rate of the disease.