The 4 A's of Alzheimer's Disease

The Left Side Shows How Alzheimer's Affects the Brain/ PASIEKA/Science Photo Library /Getty Images.

What Are the 4 A's?

The 4 A's are four words that describe some of the main symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The A's represent the following:


Amnesia refers to memory loss and is often the most easily visible and common sign of Alzheimer's disease. Memory loss in Alzheimer's disease typically begins with the short-term memory and progresses to a decline in long-term memory.


Aphasia is a term used to describe impaired communication. Aphasia may be classified as expressive aphasia, where someone is unable to find the right words or may say them incorrectly, or receptive aphasia, where the ability to understand, receive and interpret language is impaired. Aphasia is commonly thought of as the impairment of speech and language, but it also can include the ability to read and write.


Apraxia is a deficit in voluntary motor skills. As Alzheimer's progresses, the ability to perform certain activities of daily living such as bathing and getting dressed might decline. Activities such as walking and eating become more difficult in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease.


Agnosia is the impairment of the ability to receive or correctly understand information from the senses of hearing, smell, taste, touch and vision. For example, people with Alzheimer's disease often are less able to identify smells, or understand the feeling of a full bladder. They also might not be able to recognize loved ones as the disease progresses.

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