Alzheimer's disease causes dementia (the loss of intellectual and social abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning) and can arbitrarily be divided into “mild”, “moderate” and “severe” stages. This is a progressive disease effecting a patient’s functional status, cognitive status, and behavioral symptoms (see "limitations of activities of daily living" below).
Although it may take decades for Alzheimer's disease to develop, a tentative diagnosis can usually only be made during the mild and/or moderate stage of the disease. The progression from a moderate to a severe stage may take 4-6 years.
- Functional status – feeding, bathing, dressing, mobility, toileting, continence, ability to manage finances and medications.
- Cognitive status - orientation (person, place and time); long-term memory; short-term memory; attention and calculation; short-term verbal recall; naming; repetition; 3-step command; reading; writing; abstraction; visuospatial, acute confusional state.
- Behavioral symptoms – anxiety, apathy, depression, agitation, aggressive behavior, psychotic symptoms.
- Living arrangement – care needs.
Razadyne® (galantime), Exelon® (rivastigmine), Aricept® (donepezil) are cholinesterase inhibitors are prescribed for mild to moderate AD to slow down AD-associated symptoms. Nameda® (mematine), a N-methyl D-asparate (NMDA) antagonist, is prescribed for moderate to severe AD to delay progression of the disease.