What Do People With Dementia Die From?
With the impaired ability to move, a person in the end stage of dementia is at risk for a number of medical complications that can lead to death. Common complications include urinary tract infections and pneumonia (an infection of the lungs). The disease also leads to difficulty swallowing, eating and drinking which leads to weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition, increasing their vulnerability to infection.
While many people suffering from late-stage dementia may die from complications related to their underlying dementia, the disease itself will eventually cause brain failure, resulting in death. Our brain does everything for us – controls the heart, the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, the metabolism – when it begins to fail because of the disease, our bodies begin to shut down. This is what ultimately causes the death of a dementia patient.
Medical Complications Resulting in Death of Dementia Patients
Although dementia itself is a fatal disease, it is common for dementia patients to die from other medical complications. These major medical events are typically a result of the underlying dementia symptoms. For instance, a person may die from an infection like aspiration pneumonia, which occurs as a result of swallowing difficulties, or a person may die from a blood clot in the lung as a result of being immobile and bedridden.
The simple fact that the late stages of dementia leave the patient extremely susceptible to infections and other diseases, can often make it difficult to determine what may cause their death. If they do survive any medical complications during the end-stage of dementia, the disease itself is fatal and will lead to death as well. Those with loved ones or family members who are in the late stages of dementia should focus on making their loved one as comfortable as possible and provide palliative care rather than aggressive medical treatment.
Make Your Loved One Comfortable with Home Dementia Care in Phoenix, AZ
Do you have a family member or loved one suffering from dementia? Call (480) 999-3012 and talk to one of our staff at Devoted Guardians. We are one of Arizona’s largest home care providers with personnel trained in dementia care. We offer daily 24-hour living assistance, including nighttime watch, and personal care.