The Seven Stages of Dementia: Early Signs and the Importance of Early Detection

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of recognizing the signs of dementia early on. Dementia is a condition characterized by mental decline and a reduction in mental processes, such as memory disorders and impaired reasoning. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s, but there are also other types. The speaker emphasizes that early detection and prevention are crucial because once dementia progresses to later stages, it becomes irreversible. The video outlines the seven stages of mental decline and highlights the significance of brain function and stimulation. It also mentions the role of factors like metabolic disease and toxins in accelerating brain degeneration. The speaker concludes by urging viewers to take action and seek help at the earliest signs of cognitive decline.

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Key Insights:

  • Dementia is a progressive condition characterized by mental decline and a reduction in mental processes.
  • There are various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia.
  • Early detection and prevention are crucial in managing dementia as it becomes irreversible beyond a certain point.
  • The seven stages of mental decline in dementia range from normal to severe decline.
  • In the early stages of dementia, individuals may experience mild memory impairments, difficulty with organization and planning, and may develop compensation strategies.
  • As dementia progresses, individuals may struggle with basic tasks, lose the ability to recall important information, and experience personality changes.
  • Brain degeneration and physical decline are underlying factors in dementia, and both fuel each other in a cycle of declining brain function.
  • Reduced brain endurance, changes in posture and movement, and impaired senses like smell can indicate early-stage brain degeneration.
  • Factors such as poor judgment, confusion about time and location, and difficulty with language coherence are early signs of dementia.
  • Engaging in physical exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and managing metabolic disease can help prevent or slow down dementia progression.
  • Late-stage dementia is characterized by severe decline, detachment, and the loss of basic self-care abilities.
  • It’s important to take action in the early stages of dementia before significant cognitive decline occurs.


Hello Health Champions. Today I want to talk about the signs of dementia and why it is so critically important that we recognize the signs early because even though the body has an amazing ability to recover and regenerate dementia is one of those conditions that once we are beyond the initial early stages it is just not reversible dementia in general is about mental decline it’s a reduction of the ability to perform mental processes so it’s associated with memory disorders with personality changes with impaired reasoning and because of that it is one of the most devastating conditions that anyone could ever get because even though the person is technically still alive that the body is still there the person that we once knew is not there anymore dementia is like an umbrella term and encompasses many different types of dementia so the most common form of dementia is alzheimer’s and that’s a form that’s associated with specific findings with amyloid plaques and with something called tau protein tangles but none of that’s really important there’s other types with lewy body dementia where they have protein clumps and then there is vascular dementia. That is a result of multiple silent infarcts and this is often with people who have strokes and the reason I say it’s not all that important is that no matter what the type there’s still not a whole lot they can do about it it’s more like an academic exercise of classification so we want to understand the very early signs as well as the mechanisms that bring them about. So that we can do early detection but even better that we can do some prevention. I watched some videos about this and it was a little discouraging that most of the advice about diagnosis is just about classification just about labeling it as dementia versus normal age-related decline or forgetfulness and it’s almost like the main purpose of having a classification having that label of dementia is just so that we have a better tolerance better understanding of what these people are going through and who they are becoming it’s like a child you can’t be too upset with the child because you know they’re not mature you know they don’t have the mental cognition to deal with things the way we do but the main thing that I hope to really drive home is about the process that if we catch things early then it is still reversible and why is that why is it so hard to reverse it in the later stages because we need the brain to fix the brain we need the function of the brain to be there to prevent further decline so once we have a certain amount of brain function then we have the motivation to do something about it to exercise to take action to lead an active life to make decisions about healthier foods and so forth and then that activation drives the brain function which drives the motivation and so forth but the opposite is also true that once we lose some brain function once the loss of brain function goes beyond a certain point now we no longer have the motivation and therefore we lose the activation that further declines brain function and so on and so forth so once it’s beyond a certain point we just don’t have enough healthy viable brain tissue we don’t have enough energy to change the mechanism to change the process so I want to walk you through the seven stages of mental decline and then you will more understand why these advanced cases are so tough that once the brain is gone it’s gone stage one for some reason is when you’re still normal so I don’t know why they call that stage one instead of stage zero or prior to stage one but that’s just the way they do it normal is where you want to be stage number two is very mild decline and this is where we’re still on the green side of the spectrum it’s not really dementia yet it’s where we forget things occasionally we might not have access to familiar words right away we might not remember where things are as quickly as we used to and some of this is perfectly normal we all have good and bad days and it could very well just be age-related another thing to understand is when it comes to brain degeneration that it’s an ongoing process that we all have some of this but the trick is to have it progress so slowly that we can live our lives and live out to the end of our lives with as much of that function left as possible stage number three is early stage dementia now you’re kind of officially in the process of developing dementia you’re still in the early stages it’s still considered a mild decline but some of the things that you might start observing is forgetting names you’re in a conversation with somebody you’re being introduced you try to remember what their name was but a minute later you have no idea what it was your short term memory is slipping another way this could manifest would be if you forget what you just read you watch a little movie clip or you read a paragraph and a minute later you don’t know what it was about and in this stage you might see people learn to compensate they figure out they’re aware that the short-term memory is slipping so they develop a strategy of marking their trail of writing down things that they know that they need to remember but they’ll probably forget and we all do this to a degree because we use lists to stay organized and so forth but here’s where it’s gone a little bit further and these people kind of mark their trail like with breadcrumbs where they know they’ll find the notes so that they have some organization in their life and their ability to organize and get things done also gets worse with planning when it’s complex when it’s multiple steps involved now they really can’t handle it without marking their trail ahead of time and the thing to understand here is that when people start to compensate and develop a strategy they still have enough brain function they still have enough consciousness they’re still aware of the problem and they have some motivation at this point you can still turn it around if you understand how the brain works and what the brain needs you can develop a strategy to actually reverse this stage number four is still considered early stage dementia but you’re a little further down now there’s moderate decline and this is where it’s getting tougher and tougher to turn this around it’s almost impossible to reverse but you can still do things to slow it down an example now would be that you forget recent event things that happen beyond just reading a paragraph you might have done something and you don’t remember it anymore another thing that often happens here is impaired calculation your ability to do simple math is not so great anymore so an example would be subtracting 7s you start with a 100 and you subtract 7. so 100 minus 7 is 93. 93 minus 7 is 86 and so forth so normally you should be able to do that even if you can’t do it instantly or as fast as someone else but once you get into this stage you’re just not able to do that at all and some of the other things you’re losing is maybe the ability to pay bills to manage your finances even if you concentrate you just can’t figure it out anymore and tasks requiring more planning and managing they’re getting increasingly difficult so someone else has to start taking over those tasks now when it comes to these stages we have to understand that even though we’re focusing mostly on the cognitive portion on diagnosing mental ability this mental ability is reflected in physiology that the physical tissue of neurology it’s declining and that this decline is progressive and before we ever get to any noticeable decline in cognitive function there’s already been a progression of physical decline so we’re talking about the cellular machinery that your brain cells as they start ever so gradually declining in their ability to produce energy in their ability to produce signals that’s the beginning of this and then as it progresses we might notice a decline in brain endurance and we’ll take a look at what what that means and then once we’ve had these first things then we see the early degeneration and eventually we see these early signs that lead to more progressive signs that lead to dementia so again if we catch it in the stages of early degeneration we can reverse this but as we start getting into the early symptom and into the later symptoms now it’s simply too late so in the very earliest stages before there’s any sign of cognitive impairment we might see a reduction in brain endurance so this might be a reduction in attention span it might be more mental fatigue it could be that you can’t stay focused as long as you used to it might be that you feel you need caffeine or some other stimulant to keep you going or it could be that you notice that in some other aspect that you feel your brain function just isn’t providing the quality of life that you’re used to you notice that there’s a change there another thing to look for in the very earliest stages is changes in posture and movement your cognition is still there but these things indicate a degeneration of brain function of the physical capacity of the brain to perform work so if you’re sitting still and you’re noticing a twitching or a tremor that’s a sign that the brain is not able to control that as well as it used to if you notice that your handwriting is getting smaller and it’s not because you’re just a neat type of person that always wrote like this but you used to write a certain way and now you’re writing different that is becoming more compressed called micrographia that’s another sign if you can’t smell the food as much smell is a result of brain function like everything else absolutely everything so if you can’t smell the food that’s very common if your quality of sleep is declining your brain function determines the hormone production and the regulation of sleep cycles and the regulation of stress and so forth another thing you might notice as your brain degenerates is a hunched posture so posture is part of brain health we start our lives as babies we start as a in a fetal position we’re all curled up and then as the brain develops and progresses and the brain the frontal lobe learns to inhibit certain things we get an upright posture and then as the brain starts weakening we get back we get more and more curled and hunched over and we sort of return back to that childhood posture another sign that the brain isn’t working as well is a loss of arm swing that when you’re walking you might swing one arm more than the other or both arms may not swing very much at all so the thing to understand though is that poor brain function results in these but it works the other way around that if you pay attention to your posture and if you pay attention to your arm swing you’re actually reinforcing brain function so when do we start worrying about it being dementia and when is it just something that is normal for age so with dementia it’s very common to have poor judgment but these people have chronically poor judgment they are unable to have good judgment what’s normal with age is that you have occasional bad choices but once you think about it you’re able to reason it out with dementia you’re often unable to manage a budget however i think every one of us has missed paying a bill at some time and that’s different it’s once in a while people with dementia are often losing track of what time it is what day it is what month or even season they can start in the summer and say oh are we going to have snow today they really have no clue about time or even season normal would be that you don’t know if it’s wednesday or thursday because there’s a lot going on you got distracted but if you sit down and think about it you can figure it out and with dementia people lose things but they’re also unable to retrace their steps and figure out where it is or what happened to it normal is that we lose things from time to time but we still have this basic awareness of what happened or where they might be and with dementia they also have difficulty being coherent so in a conversation or trying to explain something the reasoning is all over the place there is no structure or direction to it and normal would be that we’re sometimes searching for a word we occasionally get lost but given some time we can get back to our train of thought and this has received some attention recently in the media where a lot of people are suggesting that this is what might be going on with the leader of the free world you know what do you want to do with button i want to box i it be so lucky you know i mean but it is the kinds of things or you know stuff that is coming out of florida stuff that’s coming out of you know robert e lee but in afghanistan you’re the one anyway stage number five is mid-stage so now you’re sort of in the middle or even past the middle of the spectrum is moderate to severe decline and brain damage these people cannot recall their very basics things that they have encountered and talked about and known all their lives all of a sudden they don’t know their own address or their own phone number of course their ability to realize and recall the time or day or season is getting even worse and they have trouble selecting proper clothing so like in this picture they have trouble matching things up and they’re not able to select appropriate clothing for the season or for the weather i don’t want to go in depth on the causes but i do want to touch on them very briefly here so you could get dementia you could have brain damage from injury or trauma but that’s relatively rare for all the cases of dementia the vast majority of cases is brain disease and degeneration it’s a gradual decline of the mental processes due to the physical degeneration and the first thing to understand in that context is the principle of use it or lose it your muscles work the same way if you break your arm you put your arm in a cast then that muscle will shrink because you’re not using it that is the most important component of brain degeneration yes there are genetic predisposition and all that but we have to understand the basic mechanism here and what does the brain need it needs fuel which is the stuff we eat and then it needs oxygen to burn that food that’s the fuel that produces energy but then the second part is what people miss it’s the stimulation and there’s a whole lot of confusion about how to stimulate the brain that most people think it’s playing bridge and doing crossword puzzles and having an interesting life but the fact is the vast majority more than 90% of the stimulation of the signals that keep the brain alive come from movement and that is why i always talk about exercise it’s not the best to reverse insulin resistant but it is the best to keep your brain alive if you don’t stimulate it then you’ll see a reduction in blood flow which is part of this brain degeneration and if you don’t use it then that is how the brain ends up with less blood flow another factor that can speed up this degeneration is neuro inflammation and this has to do with metabolic disease this is what i talk a lot about in my videos and even though most people worry about their metabolism for weight loss or diabetes you have to understand that alzheimer’s and dementia is often called type 3 diabetes that is how strong the link is between the two being insulin resistant and having metabolic syndrome metabolic disease is a cause of neuroinflammation and then some other additional causes will be toxins that inflame the body and toxins that come from food and the gi tract so environmental insult and from food stage six is mid to late stage dementia now you’re getting really close to the red these people have severe decline and one example of what’s happening is they can’t even recall their spouse’s name and this is where it’s becoming so devastating for a couple that has known each other their entire life and all of a sudden that person is just gone they’re there in the flesh it’s like they should be there but they’re just not and these people have to be watched constantly they’re often kept in an institution by now because they tend to wander and get lost and they have very little judgment on how to take care of themselves so they very easily get injured as well now they can’t even perform the very basics of taking care of themselves they need help with dressing and eating and in addition there’s just basically nothing left of their original personality their major personality disorders number seven is late stage dementia now you’re almost all the way gone and this is very severe decline these people have complete detachment they’re just basically not there at all anymore they’re non-responsive you talk to them you gesture and there’s just no recognition of anything they might produce random words but there’s just no context or no meaning to it they have no awareness of themselves or their condition and another thing that often happens at this point is they can’t even swallow any more if you feed them i hope you can really really see that the things that we usually associate with dementia those are stages that are too late to do something about so when you’re at this stage when you have the ability to compensate when you have some motivation to develop strategies this is the range where you want to notice and do something about it in the very early stages even before there is any cognitive decline when there’s just a little loss of brain endurance or posture that’s where it’s time to do something if you 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