How Long Will A Person With Dementia Live For
Whatever type of dementia a person has, their life expectancy is on average lower. This is why dementia is called a life-limiting condition. This can be very upsetting to think about.
However, its important to remember that, no matter how a persons dementia changes over time, there are ways to live well with the condition.
Good support can make a huge difference to the persons quality of life at all stages of dementia.
How long a person lives with dementia varies greatly from person to person. It depends on many factors, such as the ones listed on The progression and stages of dementia page.
Other factors include:
- how far dementia had progressed when the person was diagnosed
- what other serious health conditions the person with dementia has such as diabetes, cancer, or heart problems ;
- how old the person was when their symptoms started older people are more likely than younger people to have other health conditions that may lower their life expectancy. A person in their 90s who is diagnosed with dementia is more likely to die from other health problems before they reach the later stages;than is a person diagnosed in their 70s.
Possible Causes Of Death
With some diseases, you end up dying not from the disease itself, but from a complication related to the disease. This is true for dementia. Many people with dementia ultimately die from a complication of the disease. These include:
- Pneumonia:;This is one of the biggest reasons why a person with dementia dies. They ultimately develop inflamed, infected lungs, which may be filled with fluid.
- Falls:;Falling can be deadly for a senior citizen. Dementia can affect your balance and your ability to walk, so it’s not uncommon to see people with dementia struggling to stand up.
- Choking:;Some dementia patients develop a form of pneumonia where food goes down the wrong tube. During the late stages of dementia, they may have trouble swallowing.
- Suicide:;During the early stages of dementia, especially in the time immediately following a diagnosis, there may be an increased risk of suicide. Know that depression is an early sign of dementia.
- Bedsores:;Prolonged pressure on a certain part of your body can create sores. In late-stage dementia, patients can find it hard to move or get out of bed, leading to bedsores.
- Stroke:;This is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. In some cases, dementia can make the brain bleed, which increases the risk of stroke.
- Heart Attack: Having dementia may also increase the risk of having a heart attack. As with a stroke, the patient’s heart needs to be monitored to prevent a heart attack before it happens.
How Long Until Death?
What Can I Do?
What Does Progression In Stages Mean
There are many different types of dementia and all of them are progressive. This means symptoms may be relatively mild at first but they get worse with time, usually over several years. These include problems with memory, thinking, problem-solving or language, and often changes in emotions, perception or behaviour.
As dementia progresses, a person will need more help and, at some point, will need a lot of support with daily living. However, dementia is different for;everyone, so it will vary how soon this happens;and the type of support needed.
It can be helpful to think of dementia progressing in three stages:
These are sometimes called mild, moderate and severe, because this describes how much the symptoms;affect a person.
These stages can be used to understand how dementia is likely to change over time, and to help people prepare for the future. The stages also act as a guide to when certain treatments, such as medicines for Alzheimers disease, are likely to work best.
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What Happens In The Later Stages Of Dementia
- Progressive loss of memoryThis can be a particularly disturbing time for family and carers as the person with dementia may fail to recognise close family members.
- Increased loss of physical abilitiesMost people with dementia gradually lose their ability to walk, wash, dress and feed themselves. Other illnesses such as stroke or arthritis may also affect them. Eventually the person will be confined to a bed or a chair.
- Increased difficulty communicatingA person with dementia will have increasing difficulty in understanding what is said or what is going on around them. They may gradually lose their speech, or repeat a few words or cry out from time to time. But continuing to communicate with them is very important. Remember, although many abilities are lost as dementia progresses, some – such as the sense of touch and ability to respond to emotions – remain.
- Problems eatingIt is common for people in the later stages of dementia to lose a considerable amount of weight. People may forget how to eat or drink, or may not recognise the food they are given. Some people become unable to swallow properly. Providing nutrition supplements may need to be considered. If a person has swallowing difficulties, or is not consuming food or drink over a significant period of time and their health is affected, nutrition supplements may be considered for consumption other than by mouth.
Do You Die From Dementia
The forgetfulness, confusion and communication problems of dementia are caused by increasing damage to cells in the brain. But the brain doesn’t just control memory and thought; it is also the control centre for the body. Progressive brain cell death will eventually cause the digestive system, lungs, and heart to fail, meaning that dementia is a terminal condition. Studies suggest that, on average, someone will live around ten years following a dementia diagnosis. However, this can vary significantly between individuals, some people living for more than twenty years, so it’s important to try not to focus on the figures and to make the very most of the time left.
What Affects Life Expectancy In Dementia
The life expectancy of someone living with dementia depends on many factors. The type of dementia, the severity of dementia at the time of diagnosis, and the individual’s age, sex, and their general health and wellbeing can all impact on the time they can live with the disease. The key things that affect life expectancy include:
Who Is At Risk For Wet Brain
The group that is most likely to develop wet brain is those with long-term alcohol abuse. This is because Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is triggered by a thiamine deficiency, which can be caused by overconsumption of alcohol.
This deficiency can also be caused by malnutrition, anorexia, AIDs, certain types of cancer, and specific surgeries. Therefore, even people who dont have an alcohol addiction have a chance of developing this syndrome.
A small fraction of the population is currency diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, with the most vulnerable group being men aged 30-70.;
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Life Expectancy And Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies accounts for around 7% of cases of dementia. Lewy bodies are tiny protein deposits that affect thought, memory and movement and are linked to both dementia and Parkinsons disease.
Hallucinations, sleep disturbance, and movement problems can be an early feature in dementia with Lewy bodies, so that diagnosis may be made at an earlier stage. Some research suggests that survival can be significantly shorter with this challenging condition, however, the Alzheimer’s Society says:
Caring For Those With Dementia
Researcher Murna Downs, PhD, says most people don’t recognize that dementia is a disease people live with, and not just a death sentence.
Downs’ research focuses on quality-of-life issues among dementia patients.
“People with dementia live a long time, and we now know that there is a lot of awareness,” she says. “People assume that if someone doesn’t know where they are they have no other capacity for thinking and feeling. But people with dementia continue to think and to laugh and to feel the rain on their faces, and to try to make sense of their world.”
She adds that patients are often isolated because family members or other caregivers fail to recognize their need for interaction and stimulation.
“The therapeutic potential of human contact cannot be underestimated,” she says. “You would never put a small child in a chair and let them sit there all day with nothing to do. Children need stimulation and human contact and so do people with dementia.”
SOURCES: Xie, J. BMJ Online First, Jan. 11, 2008. Carol Brayne,professor, lecturer in epidemiology, department of public health and primarycare, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, England. MurnaDowns, PhD, professor in dementia studies, Bradford Dementia Group, Universityof Bradford, England Ferri, C.P. Lancet, 2005; vol 366: pp2112-2117.
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Effects Of ‘mini Stroke’ Can Shorten Life Expectancy
- American Heart Association
- Having a transient ischemic attack , or “mini stroke,” could lower your life expectancy, according to new research. Survival rates after TIA were 20 percent lower than expected nine years later, compared to the general population. The long-term effects of TIA were most serious for patients older than 65 and for patients with previous history of stroke and heart problems.
Having a transient ischemic attack , or “mini stroke,” can reduce your life expectancy by 20 percent, according to a new study in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
“People experiencing a TIA won’t die from it, but they will have a high risk of early stroke and also an increased risk of future problems that may reduce life expectancy,” said Melina Gattellari, Ph.D., senior lecturer at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine in The University of New South Wales, Sydney and Ingham Institute in Liverpool, Australia.
“Our findings suggest that patients and doctors should be careful to intensely manage lifestyle and medical risk factors for years after a transient ischemic attack.”
The statistical analysis is the first to comprehensively quantify the impact of hospital-diagnosed TIA on life expectancy.
Researchers also examined TIA patients’ medical records for other common health risks:
Changes In Mood Emotions And Perceptions
Changes in mood remain in the later stages of dementia. Depression and apathy are particularly common.
Delusions and hallucinations ;are most common in the late stage of dementia. They are not always distressing but they can explain some changes in behaviour because the persons perception of reality is altered.
People with later stage dementia often respond more to senses than words. They may like listening to songs or enjoy textures. For example, they may like the feel of different types of material.
People With Dementia Have Shortened Life Expectancies
People with and other forms of live, on average, about four and a half years after their condition is diagnosed. This is based mainly on people in their 80s and 90s who have recently developed Alzheimers. In general, people with Alzheimers have about one-half the life expectancy, after , than people who do not have Alzheimers. The present findings are from a large collaborative study group in the United Kingdom. The findings appeared in the British Medical Journal.
The findings may help those who care for a loved one with Alzheimers disease to better plan for the future. The results highlight that dementia is a chronic condition, and that people with Alzheimers will likely need care for a number of years after their diagnosis. At the same time, the average survival time is under five years, with wide variations depending on age and physical condition at the time of diagnosis.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge followed more than 13,000 men and women, aged 65 and up, for 14 years. During that time, 438 of the study participants developed Alzheimers disease or , and more than 80 percent of those with dementia died.
The median age at death was 90 for women and 87 for men. Average survival times varied widely, however, depending on the age at diagnosis. Those who were diagnosed at a younger age, from 65 to 69, lived an average of 10.7 years after diagnsosis. Those diagnosed in their 90s, on the other hand, lived an average of 3.8 years.
A Growing Problem
Facts About The Future
Studies into the main types of dementia have revealed the following about life expectancy
General life expectancy for someone with Alzheimers is around 8-12 years from diagnosis although this does depend on age and health. If you were relatively fit and healthy on the diagnosis you could live considerably longer than this. People who are diagnosed around the age of 65 tend to decline more slowly than those who are aged 80 or over. But with the right care and treatment, a fit and healthy 80 year old could still live into their nineties.
Did you know? A US study of 1,300 men and women with Alzheimers showed life expectancy to range from one year to 26 years from when their symptoms first appeared
Since vascular dementia is often linked to strokes people who are living with it can be in poorer general health than those with other types of dementia. Studies have shown their average life expectancy to be around four years after diagnosis, though their eventual decline is often linked to further strokes.
Dementia with Lewy bodies
After diagnosis, the average lifespan of someone with dementia with Lewy bodies was found in one study to be around 5-7 years after onset. However people have been known to live between two and 20 years with it, depending on their age, and other medical conditions they may have, such as Parkinsons disease which can be related to dementia with Lewy bodies.
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Can You Die From Dementia And How Does It Kill You
Medically Reviewed By: Lisa Cooper
Many people worry about developing dementia one day. However, experts say there are things you can do to by more than 30 percent. In this article, we’ll cover some of the easy lifestyle changes you can make to improve your odds of staying healthy.
If you have dementia, you may be wondering what it might mean for your long-term health. Know that it’s not the type of disorder that can shorten your life expectancy, but it may make you more susceptible to contracting certain illnesses. We’ll talk about that in more detail later on, and we’ll share some suggestions to ease your fears and worries.
What Will Cause Death?
For many, dementia is unfathomable. It’s scary to think about losing memories and the ability to function normally. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, know someone who has, or are just curious about the subject, you may wonder how a person with dementia dies.
It’s possible that you could die from complications of dementia, but you’re unlikely to die from the disease itself. For example, dementia could damage your brain over time to the point that you lose the ability to breathe and therefore die. However, for many patients, this is not the case.
Even though there are around 50 million people worldwide who have dementia, you’re not destined to get it. There are billions of people who don’t have it and who will never get it.
Two Of The Following Are Present :
- Fluctuating cognition: Mental problems varying during the day, especially attention and alertness.;
- Visual hallucinations: Detailed and well-formed visions, which occur and recur.;
- RBD: Physically acting out dreams while asleep.
A DLB diagnosis is even more likely if the individual also experiences any of the following: repeated falls, fainting, brief loss of consciousness, delusions, apathy, anxiety, problems with temperature and blood pressure regulation, urinary incontinence, and chronic constipation, loss of smell, or sensitivity to neuroleptic medications that are given to control hallucinations and other psychiatric symptoms.
Finally, the timing of symptoms is a reliable clue:;if cognitive symptoms appear before or within a year of motor symptoms, DLB is more likely the cause than Parkinsonâs disease. Signs of stroke or vascular dementia usually negate the likelihood of DLB.
Testing is usually done to rule out other possible causes of dementia, motor, or behavioral symptoms. Brain imaging can detect brain shrinkage and help rule out stroke, fluid on the brain , or subdural hematoma. Blood and other tests might show vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid problems, syphilis, HIV, or vascular disease. Depression is also a common cause of dementia-like symptoms. Additional tests can include an electroencephalogram or spinal tap .
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Using The Gds To Measure Dementia Progression
As the disease progresses, different signs and symptoms will become increasingly obvious. While there are several scales to measure the progression of dementia, the most common scale is the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia . The scale is also known as the Reisberg Scale. According to the GDS, there are seven different stages of Alzheimers disease correlating with four distinct categories: no Alzheimers, mild Alzheimers , moderate Alzheimers , and severe Alzheimers .
What Are The Signs Of Lupus In Adults
- Joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
- Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body.
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure.
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods.
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What Is The Life Expectancy For Someone With Dementia
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer as there are many influencing factors, including the persons age and gender, the type of dementia and the stage of the condition at diagnosis. The average life expectancy after diagnosis for someone with Alzheimers, the most common form of dementia is 10 years. However, dementia progresses differently in everyone, meaning people can live anywhere from 2 years to 26 years after diagnosis.;
The main way in which health care professionals estimate dementia life expectancy is by using the Global Deterioration Scale , also called the Reisberg Scale. It shows the average time someone is expected to live depending on which stage of dementia they are at.
|Stage||Expected Life Expectancy|
|Stage 1: No cognitive decline||N/A|
|Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline||Unknown|
|Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline||2-7 years|
|Stage 4: Moderate cognitive decline||2 years|
|Stage 5: Moderately severe cognitive decline||1.5 years|
|Stage 6: Severe cognitive decline||2.5 years|
|Stage 7: Very Severe cognitive decline||1.5 to 2.5 years||2.5 years or less|