What happens in stage 2 of Alzheimer's disease?

David B. Reuben, MD
Geriatric Medicine
The second stage of Alzheimer’s is when you have some mild cognitive impairment but don’t meet the diagnosis of dementia, because there are no problems with functioning. Certain biomarkers might help doctors determine which people with mild cognitive impairment will progress to Alzheimer’s disease. But not all people with the biomarkers actually do progress.
In Stage 2 of Alzheimer's disease, memory problems are now more obvious to others. Because it's difficult for people with Alzheimer's to retain new information, they may lose the thread of conversations. They sometimes have difficulty recalling current events, such as who the president is, and even bits of information from their own personal history, such as where they attended school. Their ability to perform mathematical calculations suffers, and they may no longer be able to manage their own finances. Depression often becomes prominent at this stage, further hampering the ability to function.

Impaired reasoning and judgment make traveling more difficult. Although people at this stage may be able to find their way around familiar areas, their ability to handle unexpected events is impaired, making driving risky. In addition, dishonest people can now more easily victimize them. People with Stage 2 Alzheimer's can have a striking lack of insight into their problems. They may refuse any assistance with finances, but forget to pay bills; insist on driving, but have a series of fender-benders; continue to cook, but repeatedly scorch empty pots on the stove.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.