How do the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progress?

Dr. Larry Lawhorne discusses how the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progress. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


What some people refer to as executive function goes away. This is your ability to look at a situation, size up what you need to do and carry out the steps in a process to complete the task. Calculations go away. Somebody who was once an ace at managing checkbooks may say they lost interest in it, or don’t want to do it anymore or actually can’t do it. Then, what’s often most disturbing to family members are changes in personality and mood.

If you look back over the whole set of symptoms that can occur, you almost always have loss of memory and the loss of language skills, word finding, the ability to do procedural things that you've always done and changes in mood and personality. Those are the characteristic things that happen but they can be so subtle and gradual that family members may not recognize the changes right away because they are assisting or helping their loved one. Then, when the person can no longer remember or complete tasks, it seems like it happened all of a sudden, when actually, if you look back, it was a slow, progressive process.

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