Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It is the most commonly diagnosed cause of dementia and is generally associated with a decrease in memory ability and changes in behavior.
Alzheimer’s disease prognosis
Alzheimer’s disease is fatal and there is currently no cure for the disease. However, research is currently ongoing to identify a therapy to prevent the continual damage to the brain, and therefore stop the progression of the disease.
Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease experience a progressive loss of mental and physical ability over time, which can be broadly split into three stages of the disease (early, middle and late). In general, Alzheimer’s disease patients spend the longest time in the middle (moderate) stage, however this can vary based on how early they are diagnosed.
Alzheimer’s disease often results in the patient dying due to a medical complication (such as the flu or pneumonia). However, once the damage in the brain is extensive enough, the patient’s bodily systems shut down.
Alzheimer’s disease life expectancy
The average life expectancy of a person with Alzheimer’s disease can vary due to a number of factors. In general, patients may live for about three to ten years after the first symptoms appear. However, some may live for up to 20 years after the onset of the disease.
Some factors that affect life expectancy include age, gender, the time elapsed before diagnosis, the severity of the symptoms, and other health problems.
- Age is associated with a general decline in health. Therefore the age of a person when they are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may affect their life expectancy. An individual diagnosed at 90 may only be expected to survive for three years following diagnosis, whereas a patient diagnosed in their 60’s could live for a further 7 to 10 years.
- Gender can also influence life expectancy in Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine women with Alzheimer’s disease can live for approximately 1.5 years longer on average than men with the disease. The exact cause of this is not fully understood.
- Time elapsed before diagnosis influences how long a patient with the disease might live; a patient who is already in the later stages of the disease at the time of diagnosis will most likely have a shorter life expectancy compared to a patient diagnosed in the earlier stages.
- The severity of symptoms also influences life expectancy in Alzheimer’s disease. For example, a patient who is more prone to falling or wandering may have a shorter life expectancy.
- Other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease can also reduce life expectancy.
It is important to note that the disease progresses differently in different patients, and the average life expectancy is not definite.
Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.