May 4, 2009 -- Question: What are the stages of Alzheimer's disease, and is there a standard for staging that all doctors follow?
Answer: Alzheimer's disease has many stages starting from mild cognitive impairment, where we have memory problems but no functional problems, to the most severe stages where a person no longer functions at all. These stages can occur over a very lengthy period of time.
Many people have suggested that the lifetime of a person with Alzheimer's disease can exceed 10-12 years. The rate at which we go through these stages is not well known, although we are realizing that we can maintain people at mild and moderate stages a bit longer, now that we're aware of them and are able to treat them.