Deaths directly attributed to Alzheimer’s are growing rapidly. In fact, the CDC attributed nearly 85,000 deaths from the disease in 2011 (a 39% jump during the past ten years).
In addition, a separate study released yesterday by the Alzheimer’s Association stated “only 30% of the 70-year olds not afflicted with the disease are expected to die before their 80th birthday, compared to 61% for those suffering from dementia.
“Dying with Alzheimer’s, however, should not be considered the same as dying of it,” stated Dr. Maria Carrillo, and associate with the Alzheimer Association. “But even when dementia isn’t the direct cause of death, it can be a final blow, speeding decline by interfering with care for other serious illnesses, including cancer and heart disease, or even diabetes and high blood pressure, etc.”
In addition to forgetting to take medications, many patients find it hard to describe their symptoms to other ailments, including infections which can prevent them from getting the help they need until it is too late. Severe dementia also makes it difficult for elderly patients to swallow properly or even move around. As a result, this increases their risk of pneumonia, “one of the most commonly identified causes of death among Alzheimer’s patients.”
To learn more, readers can contact the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer Association at 2075 Silas Deane Hwy., Suite 100, Rocky Hill, CT 06067 860 828-2828.