When someone is diagnosed with any type of dementia, what is the average dementia survival time?
Let’s find out.
Dementia is a disease that is believed to affect more than thirty million people across the globe. It primarily affects older people who are over the age of 65.
However, there is still a small percentage of the population that gets dementia at a younger age.
The incurable illness is characterized by continued progressive disability.
This makes predicting the average dementia survival time quite difficult.
What is the Average Life Expectancy With Dementia?
Studies, nonetheless, indicate that on average, four and a half years is the median for survival after the onset of dementia.
Because people’s experiences are usually different, survival can also vary between 3.8 years to 10.7 years or more.
You should understand that dementia, in most cases, is not the direct cause of death.
Several risk factors that can impact the life expectancy of a person who has dementia such as:
Age of Diagnosis
The age where an individual is diagnosed with dementia might affect the number of years they have on earth. People who go through earlier diagnosis are likely to live longer.
Researchers working at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Public health uncovered that the average survival time for people who get a diagnosis at the age of 65 is 8.3 years.
On the other hand, on average, 3.4 is the average life expectancy for seniors who get diagnosed when they are 90. This is mostly because the latter do not have enough time to plan for care as the disease progresses.
Additionally, dementia may be identified when its later stages have already begun which naturally decreases the length of survival.
To add to this many seniors who have dementia are already frail and can be affected by other conditions or illnesses which may also contribute to an earlier death.
Younger individuals, on the other hand (under 65 years) may experience a slow decline since they have more energy; thus, end up living longer than the ones who are over 80 when they receive their diagnosis.
Several studies report that gender plays a role when it comes to average dementia survival rates.
It is said that women end up living slightly longer than men who have dementia. Averagely, male persons can live to a ripe age of 87 while their female counterparts can go up to 90.
This is even though women are at greater risk of developing dementia. Statistics show that about 2/3rds of people who have dementia are ladies.
Severity of Symptoms
The symptoms that a person who has dementia showcases may greatly affect average dementia survival chances.
Individuals who have severe motor impairments like a long history of falls or the tendency to walk away and get lost may have shorter life expectancies.
This is one of the reasons why it is important to work closely with a doctor when a person has dementia.
After thorough examinations, the medic might identify some problem areas that can be treated effectively.
At this point, you should remember that dementia currently does not have any cure.
However, there are treatments that a person may go through to help ease symptoms. These can be in the form of medicine or alternative treatments like therapies.
Consequently, this can help add some years to the individuals’ life on earth.
Type of Dementia
There are different types of dementia that can affect a person. This can also determine the life expectancy of the ill individual.
Note that each of the dementia types will have different rates of progression and patterns.
It is; therefore, important to get the proper diagnosis so that an individual can know how to deal with the dementia they have.
Let’s touch base on the average life expectancy of people who have different types of dementia.
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
This is the most common dementia cause characterized by a build-up of abnormal proteins that damage the brain.
The lifespan of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease is typically between eight-twelve years. Healthy and fit individuals, however, tend to live longer.
2. Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Lewy bodies can be described as small protein deposits that affect memory, movement and thought. About 7% of dementia cases account for dementia with Lewy Bodies.
Experts believe that people with this type of dementia may have about six-twelve years on earth after diagnosis. Survival can be shorter for people with severe symptoms.
3. Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia develops when small strokes continually damage the brain. Research indicates that life expectancy may be about four years.
This is mostly because Vascular dementia is also linked to other illnesses that cause that affect general health.
4. Frontotemporal dementia
Also known as Pick’s disease, this affects a person when there is damage in both their temporal and frontal brain lobes.
It is mostly diagnosed in people who are between the ages of 45-65.
Individuals with this type of dementia usually have about eight years to live from when the symptom start showing.
Alarmingly, the young-onset of the illness tends to progress faster.
This implies that a person who gets their diagnosis at thirty years to fifty may live fewer years than the one who is diagnosed at an older age.
Other Health Problems
It is not uncommon for people with dementia to experience a host of other medical conditions.
Persons who have a history of heart attacks, heart disease, or diabetes might have shorter lifespans than the ones who do not have these health factors.
It means that persons who have dementia need to be very cautious about their health.
As a person grows older, they become more prone to infections and other diseases.
When these affect an individual, they can cause severe trouble to an individual, especially if they go untreated.
Persons with dementia should always consult with professional medical personnel talking about all the symptoms they are facing.
The medics can save a life opening up more years on earth.
The level of function is also one of the factors that can affect average dementia survival time. Some experts believe that persons who have higher levels of function may celebrate more birthdays.
This goes beyond memory and simple brain function.
Evidently, people who do more things for themselves have longer life-spans even with the presence of advanced dementia.
This is probably because they move around using their muscles without just sitting around something that is healthy for the body and mind.
The way a person chooses to live his/her life after a dementia diagnosis can also dictate how long they have on earth.
Some people do not receive the news well; hence, end up putting themselves into trouble.
They do this in several ways like drinking too much, smoking cigarettes, using medications without prescriptions and generally letting themselves go.
This is usually not a good move because it causes the immune system of the body to go lower, which means that one can end up making their exit on earth sooner.
It is advisable to be calm when you receive the news.
Yes, it may be daunting at first, but if a person chooses to take good care of themselves, there is a chance that they may end up living many more years without too much suffering.
Other factors that people may think may have an impact on longevity in persons with dementia include:
- Whether a person lives at home or in an assisted facility
- Whether an individual is married, divorced, or single
- Level of education
In rare cases, individuals with less education live slightly longer than those with more education.
Some people may also argue that seniors living at home may be at an advantage of enjoying more years than the ones who are at a care facility.
In line with this, it may also seem like married people might enjoy a longer life expectancy than the ones who do not have partners.
The truth is after multiple studies, the differences in the above situations are not statistically significant.
How Many Years Does Treatment Add?
Sadly treatment does not stop the progression of dementia. It only takes care of some of the symptoms, and in some cases, it can slow down the advancement of the illness.
This said, there is still no resounding evidence as to whether treatment can help add time to a person’s life or not.
Ultimately, the illness will progress and side effects and symptoms become worse as it takes a toll on the body and brain.
It is not to say that persons who have dementia should not consider treatment.
Talk to a professional doctor about possible treatment because it can help to treat some of the symptoms while at the same time improving the quality of life.
Talking about average dementia survival time can be stressful and challenging.
Statistics can easily scare people with the illness and those around them especially caregivers.
However, not all people experience this progressive disease in the same manner.
Most people can still live good lives filled with togetherness and joy with dementia. Thankfully, there are loads of resources online that a person can use to help improve their dementia.
Mostly all they need is support, love, and a doctor’s guidance to live their lives to the fullest.