Stages of Dementia

There are seven stages of dementia.

  1. No Cognitive Impairment: This is the stage where the dementia originates. There are little or no memory problems. There are also no other symptoms which may be apparent to any health care professionals.
  2. Very Mild Cognitive Decline: This is a stage characterized by infrequent memory lapses. You may feel that you are forgetting words or small things which are not given much importance to. However, the problems are not very evident to anyone except the affected person herself or himself.
  3. Mild Cognitive Decline: Memory and concentration problems begin to show in this stage. These are measurable and if a test was given at this stage, the doctors would be able to notice an intellectual decline.
  4. Moderate Cognitive Decline: This is a stage where there are some clear cut indications of mental decline, such as decreased knowledge of current events and inability to perform mental arithmetic. Other indications are inability to perform complex mental tasks such as management of accounts and finances and an inability to remember personal history.
  5. Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline: Gaps in memory and failing cognitive function begin to show. Some people are not able to recall some of the most important personal details such as their address, name of the spouse and their alma mater. They may also be disoriented and may get confused about what day, date and time it is.
  6. Severe Cognitive Decline: This is a stage where the affected person loses awareness of all recent events and experiences. They are not able to recall their own name and are completely disoriented about their surroundings. They may also need assistance with their personal hygiene and may experience urinary and fecal incontinence.
  7. Very Severe Cognitive Decline: This is a stage where the affected person is not able to respond to their environment. Most of the times, their speech is unrecognizable and the incontinence increases. They are also not able to swallow.

Though there are a lot of types of dementia, they are characterized into two main categories.

  • Cortical Dementia: This is a condition that arises out of disorders of the cerebral cortex. This kind of dementia begins with severe memory impairment and the person may also experience an inability to recall most words. They also do not understand common language. This kind of dementia usually stems from the wear of the topmost layer of the brain.
  • Subcortical Dementia: This is a condition that stems from the parts of the brain below the cortex. This causes memory loss and language difficulties too, but at a very later stage of the development of the condition.