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What Usually Causes Death In Alzheimer’s Patients

Risk Factors For Alzheimer’s Dementia

The Short Answer: What Causes Dementia?

The vast majority of people who develop Alzheimer’s dementia are age 65 or older. This is called late-onset Alzheimer’s. Experts believe that Alzheimer’s, like other common chronic diseases, develops as a result of multiple factors rather than a single cause. Exceptions are cases of Alzheimer’s related to uncommon genetic changes that increase risk.

2.7.1 Age, genetics and family history

The greatest risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s are older age,, genetics, and having a family history of Alzheimer’s.-

Age

Age is the greatest of these three risk factors. As noted in the Prevalence section, the percentage of people with Alzheimer’s dementia increases dramatically with age: 3% of people age 65-74, 17% of people age 75-84 and 32% of people age 85 or older have Alzheimer’s dementia. It is important to note that Alzheimer’s dementia is not a normal part of aging, and older age alone is not sufficient to cause Alzheimer’s dementia.

Genetics

APOE Pair
  • One in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia.,,
  • The percentage of people with Alzheimer’s dementia increases with age: 3% of people age 65-74, 17% of people age 75-84, and 32% of people age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia. People younger than 65 can also develop Alzheimer’s dementia, but it is much less common and prevalence is uncertain.

3.1.1 Underdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the primary care setting

3.1.2 Prevalence of subjective cognitive decline

Gene Wilder’s Death: How Do People Die From Alzheimer’s

29 August 2016

Legendary comedic actor Gene Wilder has died at age 83 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his family announced today. But what exactly does it mean to die from Alzheimer’s?

Although Alzheimer’s disease shortens people’s life spans, it is usually not the direct cause of a person’s death, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity in the United Kingdom for people with dementia. Rather, people die from complications from the illness, such as infections or blood clots.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease in which abnormal protein deposits build up in the brain, causing brain cells to die. The illness is best known for causing memory loss, but it also has other debilitating effects on the body, and can affect people’s ability to move and eat by themselves. There is no cure for the illness.

Alzheimer’s patients may have difficulty swallowing, and they may inhale food, which can result in aspiration pneumonia, Dr. Marc L. Gordon, chief of neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, New York, who was not involved in Wilder’s care, told Live Science in a 2014 interview. Pneumonia is listed as the cause of death in as many as two-thirds of deaths of patients with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Alzheimer’s patients may also become bedridden, which can increase their risk of fatal blood clots, Gordon said.

Editor’s note: Portions of this article were previously published on LiveScience.

Causes Of Death In People With Alzheimer’s Disease

Claudia Chaves, MD, is board-certified in cerebrovascular disease and neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology. She is an associate professor of neurology at Tufts Medical School and medical director of the Lahey Clinic Multiple Sclerosis Center in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The Alzheimer’s Association notes that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It also points out that out of the top 10 causes of death, it’s the only one without an effective treatment or cure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also highlights Alzheimer’s as a significant cause of death, pointing out that between 1999 and 2014, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s rose by 55%.

One of the challenges in tracking deaths from Alzheimer’s is that Alzheimer’s disease is not always identified as the cause of death on a death certificate. Sometimes, the conditions that develop from Alzheimer’s are listed instead as primary on the death certificate. In other cases, Alzheimer’s may have never been officially diagnosed. These challenges in tracking Alzheimer’s deaths are demonstrated in one study that found that deaths from Alzheimer’s in people over the age of 75 may be as high as six times the count officially recorded.

Average life expectancy for people living with Alzheimer’s is four to seven years after diagnosis, although some people may live as much as 20 years or more.

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How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed

Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person who is having memory problems has Alzheimers disease.

To diagnose Alzheimers, doctors may:

  • Ask the person and a family member or friend questions about overall health, use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality.
  • Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language.
  • Carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem.
  • Perform brain scans, such as computed tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , or positron emission tomography , to support an Alzheimers diagnosis or to rule out other possible causes for symptoms.

These tests may be repeated to give doctors information about how the persons memory and other cognitive functions are changing over time.

People with memory and thinking concerns should talk to their doctor to find out whether their symptoms are due to Alzheimers or another cause, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinsons disease, sleep disturbances, side effects of medication, an infection, or another type of dementia. Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible.

In addition, an early diagnosis provides people with more opportunities to participate in clinical trials or other research studies testing possible new treatments for Alzheimers.

Can Alzheimers Disease Cause Death

Alzheimer

Alzheimers disease shortens the life span. People survive with the illness for around 20 years or more but the average time between diagnosis and death is approximately 8 years. People usually die from the complications of the illness. It is not the direct cause of death but people with Alzheimers die due to difficulty in swallowing or inhaling food, loss of control of bladder or bowel movements, pneumonia, hallucinations, agitation, inability to walk , falls or head injury, deadly infections, blood clots, long pauses in breathing due to damage in the area of the brain that controls breathing and other life threatening circumstances.

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Active Management Of Alzheimer’s Dementia

  • Appropriate use of available treatment options.
  • Effective management of coexisting conditions.
  • Providing family caregivers with effective training in managing the day-to-day life of the care recipient.
  • Coordination of care among physicians, other health care professionals and lay caregivers.
  • Participation in activities that are meaningful to the individual with dementia and bring purpose to his or her life.
  • Having opportunities to connect with others living with dementia support groups and supportive services are examples of such opportunities.
  • Becoming educated about the disease.
  • Planning for the future.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, as well as practical information for living with Alzheimer’s and being a caregiver, visit alz.org.

Support For Families And Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers

Caring for a person with Alzheimers can have significant physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. NIA supports efforts to evaluate programs, strategies, approaches, and other research to improve the quality of care and life for those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimers and about ways to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges can help.

Good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care are other things that may help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.

Some caregivers have found that joining a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups enable caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups, including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimers and their families.

Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

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Specific Information In This Report

Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

  • Brain changes that occur with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Number of Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia nationally and for each state.
  • Lifetime risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Proportion of women and men with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
  • Number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease nationally and for each state, and death rates by age.
  • Number of family caregivers, hours of care provided, and economic value of unpaid care nationally and for each state.
  • The impact of caregiving on caregivers.
  • National cost of care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including costs paid by Medicare and Medicaid and costs paid out of pocket.
  • Medicare payments for people with dementia compared with people without dementia.
  • Number of geriatricians needed by state in 2050.

The Appendices detail sources and methods used to derive statistics in this report.

When possible, specific information about Alzheimer’s disease is provided in other cases, the reference may be a more general one of âAlzheimer’s or other dementias.â

Data Coverage Timeliness And Registration Delays

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Figures in this release represent the number of deaths registered in the calendar year: this includes some deaths that occurred in the years prior to this calendar year, while a proportion of deaths occurring in this year will not be registered until subsequent years.

Data for England and Wales combined include deaths of non-residents. Deaths for England and Wales separately covers deaths of usual residents of each country. In 2019 there were 1,288 deaths of non-residents that were registered in England and Wales.

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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?

Dying From Dementia With Late

The death of your loved one can be a hard concept to wrap your head around and accept. But knowing what to expect can help you when your loved one has late-stage dementia. It might help to know what will happen in the future so that you can be prepared emotionally and logistically.

This article discusses how dementia progresses and what to expect during late-stage dementia.

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What Else Are The Experts Saying

The recent research shows that the mortality rate for dementia, which was the second leading cause of death for the previous four years, has more than doubled since 2010. This has led to urgent calls for increased research and advances in treatments. Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“These figures once again call attention to the uncomfortable reality that currently, no-one survives a diagnosis of dementia. Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, it’s caused by diseases that can be fought through research, and we must bring all our efforts to bear on what is now our greatest medical challenge.”

Martina Kane, of the Alzheimer’s Society, also highlighted the need for increased services.

“It is essential that people have access to the right support and services to help them live well with dementia and that research into better care, treatments and eventually a cure remain high on the agenda.”

For more information about the signs and symptoms of dementia, visit our fact page. If you are concerned about dementia, visit your GP.

Apda In Your Community

Coping and Caring With Alzheimer

APDAUncategorizedDeath in Parkinsons Disease

This article was written at the request of a Parkinsons patient who wanted to know how patients die from PD.

Most patients die with Parkinsons Disease and not from it. The illnesses that kill most people are the same as those that kill people with PD. These are heart conditions, stroke and cancer. As we age we become increasingly aware that more than one bad thing can happen to our bodies.

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Avoidable Use Of Health Care And Long

6.5.1 Preventable hospitalizations

Preventable hospitalizations are one common measure of health care quality. Preventable hospitalizations are hospitalizations for conditions that could have been avoided with better access to, or quality of, preventive and primary care. Unplanned hospital readmissions within 30 days are another type of hospitalization that potentially could have been avoided with appropriate post-discharge care. In 2013, 21% of hospitalizations for fee-for-service Medicare enrollees with Alzheimer’s or other dementias were either for unplanned readmissions within 30 days or for an ambulatory care sensitive condition . The total cost to Medicare of these potentially preventable hospitalizations was $4.7 billion . Of people with dementia who had at least one hospitalization, 18% were readmitted within 30 days. Of those who were readmitted within 30 days, 27% were readmitted two or more times. Ten percent of Medicare enrollees had at least one hospitalization for an ambulatory care-sensitive condition, and 14% of total hospitalizations for Medicare enrollees with Alzheimer’s or other dementias were for ambulatory care sensitive conditions.

FIGURE 16

15,41746,252

Figure : Dementia And Alzheimers Disease Had The Highest Number Of Mentions For Deaths Due To Dementia And Alzheimers Disease In Part I Of The Death Certificate

Number of mentions in Part I, Line A of the death certificate, by leading cause, England and Wales, 2019

Notes:

For this section, Part I of the death certificate has been analysed in relation to comorbidities. This outlines the immediate cause of death.

The conditions mentioned on Part I of the death certificate showed that dementia and Alzheimerâs disease had the highest number of mentions .

Other top 10 causes mentioned on Part I for deaths due to dementia and Alzheimerâs disease also included: symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions, influenza and pneumonia and acute respiratory infections other than influenza and pneumonia . This indicated that these diseases or conditions led directly to a personâs death and were preceded by dementia and Alzheimerâs disease.

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Stage : Moderate Dementia

When a person has moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease, they become increasingly confused and forgetful. They may need help with daily tasks and with looking after themselves. This is the longest stage and often lasts around 24 years.

Symptoms of moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:

  • losing track of the location and forgetting the way, even in familiar places
  • wandering in search of surroundings that feel more familiar
  • failing to recall the day of the week or the season
  • confusing family members and close friends or mistaking strangers for family
  • forgetting personal information, such as their address
  • repeating favorite memories or making up stories to fill memory gaps
  • needing help deciding what to wear for the weather or season
  • needing assistance with bathing and grooming
  • occasionally losing control of the bladder or bowel
  • becoming unduly suspicious of friends and family
  • seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • becoming restless or agitated
  • having physical outbursts, which may be aggressive

As Alzheimers progresses, a person may start to feel more restless toward evening and have difficulty sleeping. This is sometimes called sundowners syndrome.

During this stage, physical and mental functioning continue to decline.

If a person has severe dementia during the later stages of Alzheimers disease, they might:

Other common causes of death among people with Alzheimers disease include dehydration, malnutrition, and other infections.

When Forgetfulness Turns Fatal

Alzheimer’s now third leading cause of death in Washington State

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, which is not reversible,” says Muralidhar Reddy Moola, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla. “As the disease progresses, an individual loses his memory as well as mental and physical function it is this function loss that leads ultimately to death. Once the disease starts, we are able to slow the progression with currently available medications but we can’t stop it or reverse it.”

Though the disease process itself is not considered deadly, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and, ultimately, the consequences of the disease are what make it lethal. Alzheimers disease does not cause imminent death, in the sense that most patients live for more than five years and some for 10 to 15 years from diagnosis if they are otherwise healthy,” says Gil Rabinovici, MD, of the University of California in San Francisco. “In the end stages, however, Alzheimers impacts balance, walking, and swallowing. The cause of death is usually related to complications of immobility such as falls, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, pressure sores, or aspiration.

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