Dementia life expectancy varies from one patient to another. There are some people who have slow progressing conditions while others may suffer from fast acting Alzheimer's disease. This disease eventually leads to death from severe symptoms associated with the final stages of dementia. Some symptoms can lead to the ultimate decline of health which prevents the patient's body to sustain itself.
Losing your cognitive skills is a problem most ageing people have. There are also some patients who may suffer from very poor memory or reduced mental abilities as a side-effect of a past or current illness. In many cases people suffer from Alzheimer's disease gradually. There are 7 stages of dementia that may start without obvious symptoms such as forgetfulness or reduced learning abilities.
On average, people who suffer from Alzheimer's related dementia usually live 4 and a half years after being diagnosed. There are also other factors that affect dementia life expectancy such as the age of the patient at the time of diagnosis and existing health problems such as heart problems and other serious life-threatening diseases. A few patients may last 10 years.
The second stage of this disease may involve minor cognitive decline. Patients may start forgetting where they have placed car keys, their eyeglasses, and forget names and simple words. At this stage, even friends or relatives will not notice that something is not right. The third phase indicates a mild form of forgetfulness that is noticeable to family members and friends.
The fourth phase involves a moderate decline of cognitive abilities. A medical check-up can reveal the presence of dementia at this stage. Planning dinner or performing simple mathematical tasks such as counting backwards become challenging. The patient may appear subdued during social gatherings. The fifth stage includes symptoms such as forgetting home addresses or the name of the school the patient graduated from.
The sixth level of Alzheimer's will involve severe decline in cognitive abilities such as forgetting the name of their spouse. Most parts of their past personal history cannot be remembered. This is the time when Alzheimer symptoms are obvious, even to complete strangers. Common things that a patient may do are wearing underwear over daytime clothes or using mismatched shoes.
The final stages of dementia, the sixth and seventh, are marked with significant loss of bodily functions such as urine incontinence. Patients need help to feed, dress and groom themselves. Personality changes are defined and behaviour is repetitious. This is the point when someone with Alzheimer's disease tends to get lost and have difficulty recognising their own face.
Dementia life expectancy becomes shorter once the last stage is reached. Symptoms in the seventh stage are severe. Patients will lose the ability to be responsive to their surroundings. They will have difficulty in controlling movements and need help to stand or sit properly. Speech may become unrecognizable, muscles go rigid, and it will be difficult to swallow food and water which leads to malnourishment and decline of general health. Death eventually follows soon afterwards even with proper care.