FEATURE ARTICLE:
You can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition unfolds.  
By Neil Lava, MD

The stages don’t always fall into neat boxes, and the symptoms might vary -- but they can be a guide and help you plan for your friend or relative’s care.

Stage 1: Normal Outward Behavior
When your loved one is in this early phase, he won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether he’s got Alzheimer’s.
As he moves into the next 6 stages, your friend or relative with Alzheimer’s will see more and more changes in his thinking and reasoning.

Stage 2: Very Mild Changes
You still might not notice anything amiss in your loved one’s behavior, but he may be picking up on small differences, things that even a doctor doesn’t catch. This could include forgetting a word or misplacing objects.

At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with his ability to work or live independently.
Keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer’s at all, but simply normal changes from aging.