In 2011, the National Institutes of Health revised the diagnostic criteria for determining the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. The first step is to recognize that Alzheimer’s disease has three major stages:
- Pre-clinical: In this stage, no symptoms are evident, but changes to the brain may be occurring including the buildup of amyloid protein bundles.
- Mild Cognitive Impairment: Also known as MCI, patients may present with memory and/or thinking problems beyond that which is considered normal for a person of that age and level of education. At this stage, the patient can still maintain his or her independence.
- Alzheimer’s dementia: At this stage the patient is experiencing memory and life management issues to the degree that living independently is not linger feasible without risk of harm and or injury.