Dementia Stages Before Death
At diagnosis, most people are in either the early- or mid-stage of dementia. People with early stage dementia may be a bit forgetful, but they can still function in everyday life. They live independently many still work.
In mid-stage dementia, memory and thinking problems become more obvious. Other people notice that the affected individual is no longer operating at peak capacity. Symptoms become more pronounced as this stage progresses. Affected individuals may forget that they just ate. They may wander or get lost while walking a once-familiar route. Their sleep habits may change. Its not uncommon for people with mid-stage dementia to sleep during the day and be up most of the night.
Eventually, dementia progresses to the point where individuals can no longer control bowel and bladder function. This loss of control is directly Related to the damage occurring in the brain the cells that normally control these functions die. And as more and more cells die, symptoms worsen. In late-stage , individuals may lose the ability to walk and speak. Self-feeding becomes impossible, and as the disease progresses, many people have a hard time swallowing food or drink.
Can You Die From Dementia And How Does It Kill You
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.
Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease
In the early stages the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be very subtle. However, it often begins with lapses in memory and difficulty in finding the right words for everyday objects.
Other symptoms may include:
- Persistent and frequent memory difficulties, especially of recent events
- Vagueness in everyday conversation
- Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
- Taking longer to do routine tasks
- Forgetting well-known people or places
- Inability to process questions and instructions
- Deterioration of social skills
- Emotional unpredictability
Symptoms vary and the disease progresses at a different pace according to the individual and the areas of the brain affected. A person’s abilities may fluctuate from day to day, or even within the one day, becoming worse in times of stress, fatigue or ill-health.
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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.
Is Alzheimers A Terminal Illness
This question has a fair amount of subtlety. I have treated it at greater length HERE. But, suffice it to say that there are broad and narrow conceptions for what a âterminal illnessâ is.
On the broad conception, a terminal illness is merely one that reduces your life expectancy and that you will you will have at the time of your death. Alzheimerâs surely fits this general description.
On the narrow definition, a terminal illness is one that you are expected to die from very soon â maybe within twelve or twenty-four months. A person recently diagnosed with mild-cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimerâs may have eight to ten years to live. So, on this narrow definition, âAlzheimerâsâ â by itself â may not be a terminal illness. However, we could say that late-stage Alzheimerâs could plausibly be construed as a terminal illness. Because, by the time a person enters Alzheimerâs advanced, end, or late stage, it may well be that their life expectancy has been reduced to one or two years.
For a more in-depth discussion of this issue, click HERE.
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What Was My Experience With My Dad
As I have shared in other places , my dad, Jim, had Alzheimerâs for about ten years. In retrospect, his doctors led us to believe that he had been suffering through early stages of the disease before it was recognized for what it was. During that period of uncertainty, I attributed his attitude and behavioral changes to his becoming crotchety and temperamental.
But, most relevantly, he was diagnosed with arterial blockages and colon cancer. We nursed him through a triple bypass operation and a colectomy. I say that to mention this: For his age, my dad was otherwise physically healthy when his Alzheimerâs was finally diagnosed.
When he underwent heart surgery, he was literally at deathâs door, and he could have expired at any moment. But having had the two surgical interventions, he lived through a full progression of the various stages of his dementia.
We noticed the locomotive and speech degeneration that is typical of Alzheimerâs. Indeed, there were several episodes when he developed blood clots, pneumonia, and urinary-tract infections. He contracted a severe respiratory virus at least once and had a gastro-intestinal bug on another occasion. Any of these events could have resulted in his death. And Jim came close to dying during a few of them.
But, he didnât.
He held on. He came back.
He went into hospice care at least five times. And four times recovered enough to go off hospice.
He lasted in this state for about ten days.
This was exasperating news.
How Do People Get Dementia
The exact cause of dementia is unknown, and there may very well be no particular thing to blame. Many complicated factors come into play when it comes to diagnosing dementia, as well as any cognitive issue in the brain.
Aside from the different types of dementia and their above-mentioned possible causes, personal health also plays a major role in brain decline. If no known injury or defect is detected, an unhealthy lifestyle can contribute to the development of dementia during older age.
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A Costly And Growing National Crisis
- In 2021, the total national cost of caring for people living with Alzheimers and other dementias is projected to reach $355 billion. This number does not include the estimated $257 billion price of unpaid caregiving.
- Medicare and Medicaid are expected to cover $239 billion, or 67%, of the total health care and long-term care payments for people with Alzheimers or other dementias. Out-of-pocket spending is expected to be $76 billion, or 22% of total payments.
Stage : Mild Dementia
The mild dementia stage is the point at which doctors typically diagnose Alzheimers disease. If people use a three-stage description of Alzheimers disease, this will be the early stage.
Problems with memory and thinking may become more noticeable to friends and family and also begin to affect daily life.
Symptoms of mild dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:
- having difficulty remembering newly learned information
- asking the same question repeatedly
- having trouble solving problems and completing tasks
- exhibiting reduced motivation to complete tasks
- experiencing a lapse in judgment
- becoming withdrawn or uncharacteristically irritable or angry
- having difficulty finding the correct words to describe an object or idea
- getting lost or misplacing items
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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 understand what’s coming in the future so you can prepare emotionally and practically.
This article explains how dementia progresses and what happens during late-stage dementia.
Alzheimers Is A Global Crisis That Requires A Global Solution
It is a grave threat to the worlds health and finances if not stopped. About 50 million people worldwide have some form of dementia, and someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds.
When the world has faced catastrophic challenges before, nations have marshaled significant resources behind clear goals and objectives to achieve great things. For example, the world committed to ambitious, aggressive, and well-funded efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Those efforts have paid significant dividends in lives saved and economic development fostered.
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How Could Inflammation Caused By Infections Contribute To Alzheimer’s
If infectious bacteria, viruses or fungi reach the brain they can activate special immune cells in the brain called microglia. When microglia are activated, they can cause inflammation in the brain. This type of inflammation is thought to be involved in the progression of dementia by causing nerve cell death.
There is also some evidence that inflammation in the body caused by chronic infections like gum disease can cause inflammation in the brain. Because the blood-brain barrier of people with Alzheimer’s is leakier than normal, one theory is that active immune cells and the substances involved in the body’s inflammatory response can get through into the brain. This causes the brain’s own immune cells to activate, leading to inflammation and possibly death of brain cells. Brain inflammation can also make the blood-brain barrier even leakier, allowing more of the body’s immune cells through and starting a vicious cycle of damage.
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It Can Kill You: The Scary Facts People Don’t Know About Alzheimer’s Disease
Imagine losing your memoriesforgetting your friends, unable to recognize your spouse, no longer recalling the names of your own children. Imagine, too, that you lose interest in reading, hiking, cooking or whatever other pastimes and passions define your life. Now imagine that you can no longer eat, walk or dress yourself. You must rely on people around you for the most basic human tasks, like taking medications and brushing your teeth, but you don’t fully understand what’s going on, because you can’t remember what’s happened or why.
This is life with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and it’s arguably one of the most terrifying illnesses out there. It’s fatal. It claws its way into your family’s finances. And not a single treatment exists to slow, stop, prevent or reverse the disease, which is why the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is set to skyrocket from an estimated 5.2 million today to as many as 16 million in 2050, costing the country $1.2 trillion in long-term care, hospice care and health care, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Last year, an estimated 15.5 million caregivers provided 17.7 billions hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. That’s around $220 billion in unpaid work or lost wagesand, disturbingly, more than 400 times the NIH’s annual funding for the disease.
Worldwide, those numbers are even scarier.
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Causes Of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills brain cells.
This can happen as a result of:
- narrowing and blockage of the small blood vessels inside the brain
- a single stroke, where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off
- lots of “mini strokes” that cause tiny but widespread damage to the brain
Not everyone who has a stroke will go on to develop vascular dementia.
Read more about vascular dementia.
How Does Alzheimers Kill
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain, resulting in memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia . People with Alzheimer’s disease first develop memory loss. As the disease progresses, memory loss worsens and problems with thinking, decision making, reasoning, language, or perception develop.
In the late stages of Alzheimer’s, individuals lose their ability to communicate or respond to the environment and require constant care. The brain damage leads to the failure of the bodys organs and functions, including the lungs, heart, and digestion, which can eventually kill the individual. Alzheimer’s is a disease with no cure, but there are ways to stop or slow its progression with medications and other therapies. These can treat symptoms and improve the quality of life.
Alzheimers disease can be either of the following:
- Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Alzheimer’s and occurs after 65 years of age. The affected person does not have any history of the disease in their family members.
- Familial Alzheimers disease is a rare genetic condition. A person with inherited mutated genes may develop Alzheimer’s disease when they are of age 40-50 years .
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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.
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Rarer Causes Of Dementia
There are many rarer diseases and conditions that can lead to dementia, or dementia-like symptoms.
These conditions account for only 5% of dementia cases in the UK.
- problems with planning and reasoning
These symptoms are not severe enough to cause problems in everyday life.
If the underlying illness is treated or managed, symptoms of MCI often disappear and cause no further problems.
But in some cases, people with MCI are at increased risk of going on to develop dementia, which is usually caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more about how to prevent dementia.
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What Goes On Medically
Medically, what goes on depends on which of the three possibilities obtains.
Suppose that the Alzheimerâs patient passes from a secondary condition. Then the medical cause of death will depend on the particulars of that condition. So, suppose that an immobile Alzheimerâs patient develops a blood clot in his or her calf. Doctors will try to treat the clot by using blood thinners. But, if the clot breaks loose a person can die any or three ways. Firstly, the clot could block an artery. This may happen any number of places, but it is most dangerous around the lungs. Called a âpulmonary embolism,â a blood clot near the lungs can cut off oxygen to the body and brain. Secondly, the clot could cause the person to go into cardiac arrest. If the clot passages into the heart, the heartâs pumping may become erratic and fatal arrhythmias may develop. Thirdly, the clot could go towards the brain, block an artery there, and cause a fatal stroke.
If a person develops pneumonia, then the main risk is that of infection. Pneumonia is characterized by a personâs having âfluid-filledâ sacs in the lungs. In the first place, the fluid impedes the lungâs ability to pass oxygen into the blood stream. But the fluid is also a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria can make its way into the blood, travel around to other organs, and cause a massive, whole-body infection that a person is unlikely to recover from.