How does dementia progress

Most types of dementia are progressive. This means that over time people with dementia will slowly worsen in terms of their functioning. How quickly dementia progresses depends on the nature of their illness, their cognitive reserve and how early treatment is initiated. It is very important that dementia is diagnosed early in order to slow the progression of disease. This article ill help you understand the progress of dementia.

Prognosis depends upon the stage of illness

NormalNormal non dementia state.
Elder Personal awareness of some
functional decline
Noticeable deficits in demanding job situations.
Mild Requires assistance in tasks such as handling
finances, travelling, planning.
Moderate Requires assistance in choosing proper clothing.
Requires assistance with dressing, bathing, and
toileting. Experiences urinary and faecal
Severe Speech ability declines , Progressive loss of ability to walk, to sit up, to smile .

The transition between each stage can be delayed with prompt treatment and adequate care.

In mild stages of disease people are able to function and perform their day to day activities with minimal support. In Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) memory may be unaffected in early stages, behavioral changes or loss of language may be an early feature.

Changes in behavior tend to be common in the moderate stage of dementia and are one of the challenging aspects of dementia for carers. Most sufferers will require support for their day to day activities.

In severe and late stages, patients are often dependent on their carers for day to day activities. They have difficulty in biological functioning such as swallowing and urination. They may also completely lose all language and expressive function.

Survival in Alzheimer’s

On average, people with Alzheimer’s disease live for eight to ten years after their symptoms begin. However, life expectancy does vary considerably depending on how old the person is and other factors as mentioned above. For example, people whose symptoms started in their 60s or early 70s can expect to live for around seven to ten years, whereas someone whose symptoms started in their 90s will, on average, live for about three years.

Survival in Vascular dementia

On average, people with vascular dementia live for around five years after symptoms begin, less than the average for Alzheimer’s disease. In many cases, the person’s death will be caused by a stroke or heart attack. The management of risk factors play a major role in prolonging longevity.

Survival in Lewy body dementia

On average people live on average for six to twelve years from the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. However, each person will experience dementia with Lewy bodies differently.

Survival in Frontotemporal dementia

Each person’s experience of frontotemporal dementia will be different, but on average people live for six to eight years after symptoms begin.

If an irreversible dementia is diagnosed, quality of life and delay of progression become the primary points of action. With early identification, appropriate treatment and empathetic care dementia sufferers can live longer, more satisfying lives.

Though most forms of dementia is progressive, there are several modalities that can improve quality of life and delay the onset of severe illness. Read more about what you can do here.

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