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Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Detailed Overview

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Going through the world of Alzheimer’s Disease reveals a challenging path marked by different stages. Each one of them represents a unique chapter in the progression of this neurological disorder. Our detailed guide takes you through the varied landscape of cognitive decline. We’ll shed light on the changing experiences that individuals and their loved ones may face. This degenerative brain condition unfolds in a series of discernible phases. Each of them bears its own set of hardships and implications. Our detailed examination delves into the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. We offer a clear and accessible overview designed to empower readers with knowledge. We want to provide insights into the nuanced aspects of this state. From the initial subtle cognitive changes to the advanced stages marked by significant memory loss and functional impairment. By unraveling these Alzheimer’s stages, we aim to foster a deeper understanding of the difficulties faced by those affected. Also, we want to highlight the importance of early detection and compassionate support.


How Many Stages of Alzheimer’s Are There?

The progression of Alzheimer’s disease unfolds in several stages. Every phase presents distinctive hurdles and changes in cognitive function. Understanding how many stages of Alzheimer’s are there is critical. The journey begins with mild cognitive impairment. Here subtle memory lapses and difficulty concentrating may occur. As the disease advances, it enters the mild, moderate, and severe stages. Each one brings about escalating cognitive decline and impacts daily functioning.

The Brain in Alzheimer’s undergoes significant changes throughout this time. There might be a progressive accumulation of abnormal protein deposits. These pathological entities are recognized as plaques and tangles. The plaques consist primarily of beta-amyloid protein. They accumulate in the spaces between nerve cells. Concurrently, tangles form within the cells, composed of tau protein. The consequences of this cellular demise are particularly profound in the hippocampus. It’s a region critical for memory formation and consolidation.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the damage to the hippocampus results in noticeable memory lapses. As it progresses, it affects diverse areas of the brain responsible for different functions. The spreading damage manifests in a cascade of decline. It impacts language, reasoning, and executive functions. 

There is currently no cure for this condition. Yet, diverse treatment approaches aim to alleviate symptoms. They allow to slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for both patients and caregivers. Medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine are commonly prescribed. Additionally, non-pharmacological interventions, including cognitive stimulation and caregiver support, play a big role.


The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

infographic on 7 Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

This condition has clear-cut stages that mirror the evolving impact on mind functions. In this exploration, we delve into the comprehensive structure of the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease. As a neurodegenerative condition, it unfolds progressively. Organizing its trajectory into phases is paramount for patients and caretakers. Each phase signifies a distinct chapter. It encompasses a range of symptoms that require tailored approaches to care and support. Join us as we unravel the course of this disorder.

Stage 1: No Impairment

The initial stage of Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a lack of noticeable signs. At this point, individuals exhibit normal functioning with no apparent memory or cognitive issues. This makes it particularly tough to detect the condition in its early phase. Often, the subtle changes are overshadowed by the normal aging process. It’s complicating the identification of potential early signs of Alzheimer’s.

It’s evident that individuals may still perform daily activities without any apparent difficulties. Memory recall remains intact, and cognitive functions appear unimpaired. It is during this stage that the covert nature of the disorder begins to manifest. It subtly lays the groundwork for the progression into subsequent phases.

Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

As we transition into the second stage, people may encounter subtle memory lapses. They might be forgetting names or misplacing items. These lapses, although noticeable, are often attributed to normal aging. The fine line between age-related memory changes and the indicators of the initial Alzheimer’s stages underscores the complexity. It emphasizes the need for comprehensive assessments and monitoring.

Clinicians and caregivers play a huge role in this period. They can conduct a thorough evaluation to identify potential indicators. It allows them to initiate appropriate interventions.

Stage 3: Mild (Early-Stage Alzheimer’s)

As we progress into the third stage, mental decay becomes more apparent. Individuals at this point may grapple with concentration difficulties. They face challenges in recalling names and familiar words. Also, they might experience struggles in planning and organizing tasks. This one of 7 stages of Alzheimer’s marks the early onset of this disorder. Now the impact on daily functioning becomes noticeable. It signals the need for a wider assessment. Thorough evaluations become increasingly vital during this phase. They guide the formulation of tailored care strategies to support patients and their families.

Stage 4: Mild Alzheimer’s

At this phase, individuals struggle with discernible mental deterioration. It extends beyond the occasional forgetfulness. One hallmark is the heightened sensitivity to changes in the environment. People may find themselves overwhelmed or disoriented in novel or unfamiliar settings. The ability to adapt to changes diminishes.

A significant aspect of this stage involves the noticeable impact on social interactions. Engaging in conversations becomes more demanding. The fear of the inability to comprehend complex discussions can lead to a sense of social isolation. 

Stage 5: Moderate Alzheimer’s

As patients enter this stage of Alzheimer’s disease, there is a noticeable increase in the need for assistance with daily activities. The progression of memory loss extends beyond occasional lapses to a more pervasive and persistent state. Simple tasks that were once routine may now present formidable challenges. This prompted the necessity for external support in dressing, bathing, and meal preparation.

Confusion about time and place further compounds the complexities people have to handle. The once-familiar surroundings may become disorienting. A sense of temporal disconnection may heighten the individual’s anxiety. Maintaining independence becomes an arduous task during this period. People may struggle with a growing awareness of their cognitive limitations. It fosters a sense of frustration and vulnerability. 

Stage 6: Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s

The progressing Alzheimer’s stages lead to moderately severe cognitive deterioration. Individuals may face a notable diminishment in their awareness of their surroundings. Familiar places may become unfamiliar, contributing to a sense of disorientation. Basic self-care, once taken for granted, becomes a challenging endeavor. It becomes almost impossible to independently perform routine tasks. This loss of autonomy marks a poignant shift in the individual’s relationship with their own body. 

Personality changes further start to occur. The core traits and characteristics that define an individual may undergo transformations. It results in shifts in behavior, preferences, and emotional responses. Caregivers and loved ones may witness aspects of the personality that are unfamiliar. It adds another layer of emotional complexity to the caregiving process.

Stage 7: Severe Alzheimer’s

Regression in mental acuity deepens in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Patients confront a formidable communication barrier. Verbal expression becomes severely limited. The capacity to convey thoughts, emotions, and needs diminishes. This prompts a reliance on alternative forms of communication. It turns into gestures or facial expressions more.

The impact reaches into the very fabric of physical function. People may encounter a loss of basic motor control. It impedes their ability to eat, speak, and move independently. The most fundamental aspects of daily living become dependent on vigilant care. 


Alzheimer’s Symptoms Stages

infographic on Alzheimer's Symptoms Stages

Alzheimer’s disease is a relentless and progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It has a profound impact on mind functions. This manifests in forgetful episodes, impaired reasoning, and noticeable changes in behavior. The journey through Alzheimer’s symptoms stages is intricate. It necessitates a keen comprehension for early diagnosis and effective management. We want to offer a complete overview of the distinct signs that characterize its progression.

Early Phase

People may experience difficulty remembering recently learned information. They may start forgetting names, events, or appointments. Also, they may become disoriented in familiar places and have trouble finding their way. Tasks that involve planning, such as managing finances or following a recipe, may become difficult. Mood swings, higher anxiety, or mild changes in personality may occur.

Middle Phase

This period is one of the moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  Memory deficits become more pronounced. It includes forgetting personal history and being unable to recognize familiar faces. Patients may have difficulty expressing themselves coherently and understanding complex language. Restlessness, wandering, and increased agitation or aggression may emerge. Sleep patterns may be disrupted. People often experience insomnia or daytime drowsiness.

Late Phase

At this time patients may lose the ability to recognize loved ones, themselves, or their surroundings. Verbal communication diminishes, and nonverbal communication becomes limited. The daily care becomes completely dependent on others. Muscle rigidity, difficulty swallowing, and other physical complications may arise. Also, individuals may become bedridden and lose the ability to walk or move. Due to weakened immune function, there’s an increased vulnerability to infections.



In conclusion, understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s disease is paramount for both patients and their caretakers. The progression through mild, moderate, and severe phases encompasses a range of cognitive, behavioral, and physical changes. As highlighted in this detailed overview, the early stage marks subtle memory failure and confusion. It progresses to moderate challenges in communication and daily tasks. Ultimately this results in severe impairment in remembrance, mobility, and basic functions. The question of “how many stages of Alzheimer’s are there” is answered through an examination of the disease’s evolution. Acknowledging the distinct features of each phase facilitates early detection. It allows for appropriate care planning and improved quality of living for those affected. The research continues to advance. Ongoing efforts in comprehending and managing the condition allow for developing effective interventions. We can create support systems for affected individuals and their families.



Can Alzheimer’s be diagnosed in the early stages?

Yes, Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed in the early stages through a combination of medical history assessments, cognitive tests, and imaging studies. 

What are some early signs of Alzheimer’s?

Early signs of Alzheimer’s may include mild memory loss, difficulty finding the right words, challenges in problem-solving, changes in mood or personality, and a decline in the ability to plan and organize daily tasks.

How does Alzheimer’s progress through the stages?

Alzheimer’s progresses through three main stages: early, middle, and late. In the early stage, symptoms are subtle, with mild memory lapses. The middle stage sees a pronounced decline in cognitive functions, and individuals may require assistance. In the late stage, severe cognitive decline results in a loss of independence.

How can I care for someone in the later stages of Alzheimer’s?

Focus on maintaining routines, providing clear and simple instructions, and ensuring physical and emotional comfort. Regular communication, patience, and seeking assistance from healthcare professionals are vital aspects of effective care.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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