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Why Does Alzheimer’s Kill You

Possible Causes Of Death

How Does DEMENTIA KILL You? | WELLNESS in Life

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?

Stage : Very Mild Changes

You still might not notice anything amiss in your loved one’s behavior, but they may be picking up on small differences, things that even a doctor doesn’t catch. This could include forgetting words or misplacing objects.

At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with their ability to work or live independently.

Keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer’s at all, but simply normal changes from aging.

Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has a number of health benefits including reducing your risk of dementia and heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Alzheimers Society says: A healthy diet has a high proportion of oily fish, fruit, vegetables, unrefined cereals and olive oil, and low levels of red meat and sugar.

Try to cut down on saturated fat and limit sugary treats. Keep an eye on your salt intake too, because salt raises your blood pressure and risk of stroke. Read food labels to see whats in them and seek out healthier options.

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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.

The Top 10 Causes Of Death

How Does Dementia Kill You

In 2019, the top 10 causes of death accounted for 55% of the 55.4 million deaths worldwide.

The top global causes of death, in order of total number of lives lost, are associated with three broad topics: cardiovascular , respiratory and neonatal conditions which include birth asphyxia and birth trauma, neonatal sepsis and infections, and preterm birth complications.

Causes of death can be grouped into three categories: communicable , noncommunicable and injuries.

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Things You Should Do Every Day To Stave Off Dementia

7 things you should do EVERY day to stave off dementia

Research is still being conducted into how the disease develops and progresses, but eating a well-balanced and healthy diet, taking regular exercise, keeping alcohol to a minimum, trying to reduce stress and getting enough sleep, have been shown to reduce risks of getting dementia.

Dr Thornber recommends meditation. He said: Meditation has been shown to reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which has been known to increase the risk of developing dementia.

Just 10 minutes a day of meditation to clear the mind, have been shown to help slow down the ageing rate of the brain.

Alzheimers Society outlines how much exercise you should do, what you should eat and how much alcohol you should drink to prevent the dementia.

Stage : Severe Decline

As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one might recognize faces but forget names. They might also mistake a person for someone else, for instance, think their wife is their mother. Delusions might set in, such as thinking they need to go to work even though they no longer have a job.

You might need to help them go to the bathroom.

It might be hard to talk, but you can still connect with them through the senses. Many people with Alzheimer’s love hearing music, being read to, or looking over old photos.

At this stage, your loved one might struggle to:

  • Feed themselves

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Are Infections Seeding Some Cases Of Alzheimers Disease

Two years ago, immunologist and medical-publishing entrepreneur Leslie Norins offered to award US$1 million of his own money to any scientist who could prove that Alzheimers disease was caused by a germ.

The theory that an infection might cause this form of dementia has been rumbling for decades on the fringes of neuroscience research. The majority of Alzheimers researchers, backed by a huge volume of evidence, think instead that the key culprits are sticky molecules in the brain called amyloids, which clump into plaques and cause inflammation, killing neurons.

Norins wanted to reward work that would make the infection idea more persuasive. The amyloid hypothesis has become the one acceptable and supportable belief of the Established Church of Conventional Wisdom, says Norins. The few pioneers who did look at microbes and published papers were ridiculed or ignored.

In large part, this was because some early proponents of the infection theory saw it as a replacement for the amyloid hypothesis. But some recent research has provided intriguing hints that the two ideas could fit together that infection could seed some cases of Alzheimers disease by triggering the production of amyloid clumps.

Why Are More People Dying Of Dementia

Why Does Dementia Cause Death?

Its likely due to a combination of factors, says David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, a neurologist and geriatric psychiatrist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

Theres a silver tsunami, he says. People are living longer and into old age, and we know that age is the single largest non-modifiable risk factor for dementia.

Plus, there is also more of an awareness of the disease among the medical community and people as a whole, Dr. Merrill says, even though the way that dementia is diagnosed hasnt changed. It may be that dementia is being looked for more now than in the past, he says, leading to an uptick in numbers.

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How Is Dementia Fatal And Why

An increasing leading cause of death among the elderly today is dementia. Dementia is a group of brain degenerative diseases that cause memory and thought impairment. There are different types of dementia that can affect people at various stages throughout old age.

Although there is no specific known cause of dementia, many times it results from the gradual deterioration of the brain which causes a severe impact on cognitive function over time. Its helpful to know what to expect if you care for someone with dementia.

If left unaddressed, the symptoms of dementia and the changes it causes can be overwhelming and sometimes frightening. Why exactly is dementia so fatal? How does dementia eventually kill you?

What To Do If Your Loved One Has Dementia

It can be extremely difficult to watch someone you care about slowly lose themselves over time to dementia. Worldwide, there still tends to be some major misunderstandings about what exactly dementia is and how it affects people. Unfortunately, every type of dementia not only affects the individual diagnosed with it but their family members and loved ones as well.

If your loved one has dementia, being aware of what to expect is the first step. Coming to terms with the disease is necessary for your loved one and your well-being.

Seeking the professional care your loved one needs is crucial as it can keep them as comfortable as possible throughout all stages of dementia. Up until death, its important to appreciate as many moments as possible while they are still here and functioning.

Although dementia is fatal, there are plenty of healthcare and support resources to ensure you and your family enjoy the remaining lifespan of the dementia patient to the best of your ability.

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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia. It was first recorded in 1907 by Dr Alois Alzheimer. Dr Alzheimer reported the case of Auguste Deter, a middle-aged woman with dementia and specific changes in her brain. For the next 60 years Alzheimers disease was considered a rare condition that affected people under the age of 65. It was not until the 1970s that Dr Robert Katzman declared that “senile dementia” and Alzheimers disease were the same condition and that neither were a normal part of aging.

Alzheimers disease can be either sporadic or familial.

Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease can affect adults at any age, but usually occurs after age 65 and is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Familial Alzheimers disease is a very rare genetic condition, caused by a mutation in one of several genes. The presence of mutated genes means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, usually in their 40’s or 50’s.

The Healthy Human Brain

Behind the ears and temples are the temporal lobes of the brain. These regions process speech and working memory, and also higher emotions such as empathy, morality and regret. Beneath the forebrain are the more primitive brain regions such as the limbic system. The limbic system is a structure that is common to all mammals and processes our desires and many emotions. Also in the limbic system is the hippocampus a region that is vital for forming new memories.

What Are Some Complications

Can You Die From Dementia And How Does It Kill You ...

At some point, virtually all Alzheimerâs patients will have problems eating. They may stop eating entirely. This straightforwardly leads to malnutrition, weakness, weight loss, and starvation.

As mentioned, above, many Alzheimerâs-afflicted individuals lose the ability to walk. This general immobility leaves the person variously bedridden or wheelchair bound. Normal-functioning people may be at greater risk for health problems when they lead a sedentary lifestyle. But to be more or less completely stationary is much worse. Being motionless in this way can lead to bed sores and blot clots .

In advanced stages, the brain degenerates to the point where it is unable to properly regulate the body. This irregularity can precipitate all sorts of problems, including weakened immunity.

âAspirationâ occurs when a person accidentally inhales bits of food or drops of water. These then end up in the lungs. Without the ability to expel these foreign materials by coughing or sneezing, the individual is at great risk for infections and pneumonia.

Moreover, immune-compromised persons are more susceptible to infections and can develop serious conditions like sepsis.

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Caring For Someone With Alzheimers Disease

Caring for someone with Alzheimers disease can be hard but also rewarding. Your emotional and physical support will be a great help when the person’s world seems confusing and hostile. Take advantage of the community support thats available for people with Alzheimers disease, their families and carers.

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.

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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.

Which Infections Are Thought To Be Linked To Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia and Delusions: Why do delusions happen and how should you respond?

Some of the infections that are thought to be linked to Alzheimer’s include oral herpes, pneumonia and infection with spirochete bacteria .

There have also been links between Alzheimer’s disease and other infections that cause a long-term activation of the immune system, a process known as chronic inflammation.

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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.

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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