Alzheimer’s disease (AD) often occurs in three stages: mild,
moderate, and severe. The symptoms tend to be cumulative and
worsen over time.
In addition to memory loss, early clinical symptoms will
about the location of familiar places
longer to accomplish normal daily tasks
handling money and paying bills
judgment leading to bad decisions
of spontaneity and sense of initiative
and personality changes and increased anxiety
As the disease spreads to more regions of the brain,
additional clinical symptoms may include:
memory loss and confusion
recognizing friends and family members
with language and problems with reading, writing, or working with numbers
organizing thoughts and thinking logically
to learn new tasks or to cope with new or unexpected situations
outbursts of anger
problems, such as trouble getting out of a chair or setting the table
statements or movement, and occasional muscle twitches
delusions, suspiciousness or paranoia, and irritability
of impulse control, such as undressing at inappropriate times or places or
using vulgar language
of behavioral symptoms, such as restlessness, agitation, anxiety,
tearfulness, and wandering —especially in the late afternoon or
At this point, plaques and tangles, the hallmarks of
AD, show in the brain when viewed by the imaging technology MRI. This is the
final stage of AD. These symptoms include:
to recognize family and loved ones
of self seems to vanish
to communicate in any way
of bladder and bowel control
moaning, or grunting
- total dependence
on others for their care
swallowing (see more on this below)
Conditions With Similar Symptoms
There are other causes of dementia that have similar
symptoms to AD. The following list contains the most common ones:
- Parkinson’s disease with dementia.
This brain disorder leads to
shaking and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.
- vascular dementia. It occurs from
impaired blood flow to the brain and leads to problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, and memory.
- frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
This affects the frontal and
temporal lobes of the brain, which are associated with personality, behavior
- frontotemporal dementia. The affects the temporal and frontal
lobes that influence decision-making, behavioral control, emotion, and
- Pick’s disease. A rare and permanent form of dementia similar to AD except it often affects only certain brain areas.
- supranuclear palsy. a rare brain disorder that causes
serious and progressive problems with control of gait and balance, complex
eye movement, and thinking problems.
- corticobasal degeneration. This occurs when areas of your brain shrink and nerve cells die over time. The
result is growing difficulty moving on one or both sides of your body.
Other Possible Causes of Dementia
tumors or infections of the brain
clots pressing on the brain
imbalances, including thyroid, kidney and liver disorders
Written by: Wendy Leonard, MPH
Published on May 11, 2011
Updated on Sep 28, 2012
by Jennifer Monti, MPH, MD
This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.