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How Fast Does Dementia Kill

Focus On Early Intervention


Dr. Karen Overall covers the title question in her book, Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats.

Q: How long will the dog have left if he or she is treated?A: We cannot know the answer to this question, but the earlier intervention is attempted, the greater the likelihood of a longer and happier life. Overall, the amount of life left will increase , but the Quality of Life will increase even more.

Some board certified veterinary behaviorists will do long distance consults via telephone or video conferencing with you and your local veterinarian. You can search the directory of members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists to find some help for your dog and your family.

The two studies I cited almost seem to contradict each other. One says that dogs with dementia may have the same life expectancy as those without. The other describes the fast progression of the disease. More research will surely be done on both of these fronts. But the results arent really contradictory. What they do tell us, though, is that if our dog shows any signs of cognitive abnormality, medical help is in order. This can even be done as a preventative measure as Dr. Christensen describes.

Are There Any Treatments For Dementia

At this time there is no treatment for dementia. There is only medical care that can help manage symptoms and support people through their gradual decline.;

The options for proper medical care with the diagnosis often include specialty caregivers, individual and family support groups, healthy diet and exercise, and frequent check-ins with your doctor.;

Depending on which stage of dementia you or your loved one is in, the level of care required will vary. Someone in the earlier stages might need little to no care if symptoms are mild and not affecting daily life.

On the other hand, someone in the final stages of dementia will most certainly require 24/7 caregiving and constant supervision. If they dont have the proper care they need to avoid a risk factor such as choking or falling, it could lead to death.;

Tests For Vascular Dementia

There’s no single test for vascular dementia.

The tests that are needed to make a diagnosis include:

  • an assessment of symptoms for example, whether these are typical;symptoms of vascular dementia
  • a full medical history, including asking about a history of conditions related to vascular dementia, such as;strokes or;high blood pressure
  • an assessment of mental abilities; this will usually involve several tasks and questions
  • a brain scan, such as an;MRI scan or;CT scan, to look for any changes that have happened in your brain

Find out more about the tests used to diagnose dementia.

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Signs And Stages Of Dementia

Early Signs

In the early stages of dementia, subtle signs begin to present themselves. The person might lose their keys more often, forget directions when driving, or show mood swings. It can often be overlooked and unnoticed as simple ditziness or having an off day.

It can be hard to diagnose dementia in the earlier stages. According to the Global Deterioration Scale , dementia experts express the need for updated testing as its much better for the individual, caregivers, and family members to catch dementia earlier on. It can be confusing to pinpoint the onset of dementia as it often occurs with co-existing conditions, such as a stroke or physical disease.;

Top traits of the early phase of dementia include:

  • Confusion when trying to arrange difficult thoughts or tasks

Mid -Stage

As dementia progresses, the middle stage shows more severe signs of the beginning stage. The person will likely begin forgetting peoples names, faces, and their relationship to them. This relationship memory gap can come and go at different times, depending on the day.;

They may also get easily lost in places like their local grocery store, nursing home, or even their own house. Communication can become an issue as they struggle to find the right words to express what they want to say. Major behavioral changes can occur, such as an introvert becoming suddenly extroverted and risk-seeking, or a nurturing friend becoming hostile toward peers.;

Characteristics of mid-stage dementia:

How Are Rpds Treated

How does dementia kill you? Signs, symptoms and stages of ...

Treatment depends on the type of RPD that was diagnosed. For example, if the RPD is the result of cancer or a hormone imbalance, treatments that target these specific conditions may help treat the RPD. Unfortunately, for many causes of RPD, there is no cure available. For these cases, however, we can sometimes treat the symptoms, make patients more comfortable and improve their quality of life.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Rapid Onset Dementia

Signs and symptoms of dementia can vary depending on the underlying cause. However, the most common signs include cognitive change, memory loss, difficulty with problem-solving or completing complex tasks, and confusion or disorientation. Many people with dementia will also experience psychological changes such as depression, anxiety, personality changes, paranoia, hallucinations, agitation, and inappropriate behavior. Some causes of rapid onset dementia can be treated and possibly reversed if a diagnosis can be found quickly enough. For other people with this disease, there is no cure and a progression of symptoms is unavoidable.

How Does Dementia Kill You The Disease Has Been Reported As One Of The Leading Causes Of Death In England And Wales Over The Last Couple Of Years But According To An Expert While Dementia Essentially Shuts Down The Brain The Actual Death Of A Person May Be Caused By Another Condition

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Dementia is a term used to described a group of diseases and symptoms that affect the brain.

There are different types – the four most common are Alzheimers disease, vascular dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia.

The different dementia types can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.

But can and how does dementia kill you? Dr Andrew Thornber, chief medical officer at Now Patient explained dementia is a terminal illness that shuts down the brain.

He said: The actual death of a person with dementia may be caused by another condition.

People suffering with dementia are likely to be frail toward the end and find it harder to fight off infections and other physical problems due to the progress of dementia.

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Keep Your Alcohol Within Recommend Limits

The maximum is 14 unites each week for men and women, spread over three or more days. This is the equivalent of four or five large glasses of wine, or seven pits of beer or lager with a lower alcohol content.

Alzheimers Society says: Regularly exceeding these weekly limits increases your dementia risk. If you find yourself struggling to cut down what you drink, talk to your GP about what support is available.

Vascular dementia occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the brain which damages and eventually kills brain cells.

Stage 4: Mild Dementia

Dementia 101 in 101 Seconds

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

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Canadians Have A Right To Assisted Suicide High Court Says

Conflicts between caregivers and the patient’s previously stated wishes can end up in court, as with the case of Margaret Bentley, which goes before the Court of Appeals in British Columbia on Wednesday.

Bentley, a former registered nurse, decided years ago that she wanted to stop eating if she ever became completely disabled. But she has now sunk so far into dementia that she needs other people to help her carry out her own wishes. And while her family wants her to be allowed to die, the administrators of her nursing home do not.

Back in 1991, Bentley wrote and signed a living will that said that if she were to suffer “extreme mental or physical disability” with no expectation of recovery, she wanted no heroic measures or resuscitation, nor did she want to be fed “nourishment or liquids,” even if that meant she would die.

What Are The Complications Of Frontotemporal Dementia

FTD is not life-threatening people may live with it for years. But it can lead to an increased risk for other illnesses that can be more serious. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death, with FTD. People are also at increased risk for infections and fall-related injuries.

As FTD progressively worsens, people may engage in dangerous behaviors or be unable to care for themselves. They may need 24-hour nursing care or to stay in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

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Life Expectancy Of Dogs With Dementia

Old, wise Moira–photo credit Jared Tarbell; see license below

Whats the prognosis? How long does he have?

This is one of the first questions we usually ask when we start to recover from the shock that our dog has something akin to Alzheimers.

The good news is that there is some evidence that dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction live just as long, on average, as dogs without it. You read that right. There is a study that showed;that CCD does not reduce dogs life expectancy.

Does Quality Of Sleep Matter For People With Dementia

The quality of a person’s sleep;gradually deteriorates as they get older. They tend to get less deep or slow-wave sleep, which helps to keep the brain healthy and refreshed.;

Even though a person;with dementia may end up sleeping more than a typical person of their age even as much as 1415 hours a day; it is unlikely to all be good quality sleep.;

Sleeping a lot can also be influenced by peoples sleeping patterns before they had dementia, as some people need more sleep than others.;

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The Benefits Of An In

Finding the time to care for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, especially when you have other responsibilities like work and family. By working with an in-home care agency, you and your loved one can reap the benefits of having a trained and experienced caregiver available when you are not able to be there. One of the biggest advantages of acquiring in-home care is your loved ones ability to stay in the home. Remaining in a familiar environment often provides individuals with dementia with security and peace of mind.

Sleep For People Who Have Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinsons Disease

The type of dementia you have can affect your sleep.

People who have dementia caused by Lewy body disease, such as Parkinsons disease or dementia with Lewy bodies ;are often sleepy by day but have very restless and disturbed nights. They can;suffer;from confusion, nightmares and hallucinations. Insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless legs are common symptoms.;

A person;affected with these types of dementia may often unknowingly act out their dreams by shouting and moving around in bed.

They can even cause injury to themselves and/or their sleeping partner. This is called rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder or RBD, and tends to happen from the earliest stages of the disease onwards.

This can be exhausting and often leaves the person feeling like they havent slept at all, so they are very tired and sleepy during the day.

It can be hard to stay awake during the day after a poor nights sleep but, if possible, its best to try to limit sleep during the day to small bursts or catnaps. Otherwise the persons body clock can become very confused and this makes sleeping well during the night even harder.

Read Also: When Does Dementia Typically Start

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider

If you are diagnosed with FTD, you and your caregivers should talk with your healthcare providers about when to call them. Your healthcare provider will likely advise calling if your symptoms become worse, or if you have obvious or sudden changes in behavior, personality, or speech. This includes mood changes, such as increasing depression or feeling suicidal.It can be very stressful for a caregiver to take care of a loved one with FTD. It’s normal to have feelings of denial, anger, and irritability. Caregivers may also have anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and health problems of their own. Caregivers should contact their healthcare provider if they have any of these signs of stress.

What Is The Treatment For Dementia

Why Does Dementia Cause Death?

Although an individual with dementia should always be under medical care, family members handle much of the day-to-day care. Medical care should focus on optimizing the individual’s health and quality of life while helping family members cope with the many challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia. Medical care depends on the underlying condition, but it most often consists of medications and nondrug treatments such as behavioral therapy.

However, early investigation into the cause of dementia symptoms is urged because, as mentioned previously in the causes of dementia section. There are some conditions that when adequately treated may either limit or reverse dementia.

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How Vascular Dementia Develops

Symptoms of vascular dementia can appear suddenly if they are caused by a single stroke, or if they are caused by silent strokes they may appear gradually over time.;Vascular dementia sometimes develops in steps, so that symptoms will stay the same for a while and then suddenly get worse. These steps are usually due to new strokes.;

You can read more about treatments to slow down the progression of dementia.

Small Vessel Disease And Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Vascular dementia can also be caused by small vessel disease. This is when the small blood vessels deep within your brain become narrow and clogged up. The damage stops blood from getting to parts of your brain. The damage can build up over time and may cause signs of vascular cognitive impairment. This can eventually lead to vascular dementia.

Many of the things that increase your risk of small vessel disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, also increase your risk of stroke.;

You can read more about how to reduce your risk of stroke and small vessel disease.

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How Does Dementia Kill You

Dementia is an umbrella term that covers many progressive brain diseases including Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and vascular dementia, among others. Patients of these diseases often exhibit different symptoms in the early stages of the specific disease they were diagnosed with but during the late stages, most symptoms are the same.

Its a common misconception that dementia itself doesnt kill the patient but rather major health events while suffering from dementia are the cause.

While its not uncommon for major health issues to be associated with dementia, the majority of patients die from the disease itself. That is why many experts recommend palliative care for patients in the end-stage of dementia. Rather than utilizing aggressive treatments for health problems caused by dementia, which cause additional distress and discomfort while rarely extending lifespan, they recommend keeping the patient comfortable and improving quality of life.

Here you can see the actual signs to look for in the end stages of dementia.

How Is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed

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If youre noticing signs of vascular dementia, then you need to go and see your GP as soon as possible.

Your GP will talk to you and do a number of tests to see what may be causing your symptoms. Its probably a good idea to take a friend or family member with you to help you answer your GPs questions. They may have noticed symptoms that you are not aware of, or may be able to say how long youve had them.

To help them rule out any other causes your GP is likely to:

  • Talk to you about your symptoms.
  • Go through your medical history to see if you have any conditions that are linked to vascular dementia, like heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Perform a brief memory test.
  • Ask you some questions about your mood.
  • Speak to your friend or relative about any changes they may have noticed.
  • Take some blood or ask for a urine sample, so that they can check for other problems that could be causing your symptoms such as an infection, thyroid problems or low levels of vitamins or hormones.
  • Look at the medication youre taking to see if that could be causing any of your symptoms. It is a good idea to bring a list of all the medications, vitamins and supplements you take including those prescribed by your doctor and the ones you buy yourself.

Your GP may refer you to a dementia specialist. This could be:

  • An old-age psychiatrist .
  • A geriatrician .
  • A neurologist .
  • A psychologist .
  • A specialist dementia nurse.

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How Does Dementia Actually Kill You

When dementia becomes advanced, a persons brain tissue shrinks and they cannot care for themselves or even communicate, the NIA says. Over time, this can lead to a slew of deadly complications from the disease, Dr. Merrill says.


Many people with dementia have eating problems, like difficulty swallowing. When a person cant swallow properly, food or drink can end up in their lungs, where it can cause pneumonia, Dr. Merrill explains. When bacterial pneumonia goes untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and potentially lead to , a severe immune system reaction that can be deadly. On top of that, a patient may also become dehydrated or malnourished due to the inability to swallow.

Illnesses that arent detected right away

Other serious illnesses, such as the flu, can also lead to death in dementia patients if they become severe enough. People with advanced dementia arent able to express through language the fact that theyre feeling ill so there may be later detection of an illness, Dr. Merrill says. When an illness is finally detected, it may be more progressed and take over the body to the extent that it wouldnt have if someone didnt have dementia.

Fatal falls


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