Scientists and doctors are finding better ways to manage dementia, increasing life expectancy with each passing year. Dementia, however, is regarded as a ‘life-limiting’ illness because of its course of progression.
It is difficult to estimate life expectancy, but if you know how long you have left, you can make care plans accordingly for your future. Focus on making the most of the time you have rather than on how much is left.
This article will cover the average dementia lifespan, the factors that influence this condition, and other related information regarding this disease.
Life Expectancy of a Person with Dementia
“What is the life expectancy of a person with dementia?” There are many factors that influence the outcome of this question, including the person’s age and gender, the type of dementia, and the stage of the disease at diagnosis.
It is estimated that a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, will live for an average of 10 years after diagnosis. The progression of dementia varies from person to person, meaning individuals can live anywhere from 2 years to 26 years after diagnosis.
According to healthcare professionals, the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), also referred to as the Reisberg scale, is the main way to estimate dementia life expectancy. The chart shows how long someone is expected to live at different stages of dementia.
Types of Dementia
According to studies of the main types of dementia, these are the life expectancies of each:
- Alzheimer’s disease (8-12 years from diagnosis)
- Vascular dementia (4 years after diagnosis)
- Frontotemporal dementia (8 years, since the symptoms first started)
- Dementia with Lewy bodies (around 5-7 years)
- Early-onset dementia (The progression of early-onset dementia seems to be faster and its lifespan expectancy is still being investigated)
Survival rates for all types of dementia vary from person-to-person and are increasing all the time. There are many reasons for this, including earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment. So there’s a good chance you – or your loved ones could live longer than these general estimates.
Factors that Influence Dementia Lifespan
Life expectancy is affected by a number of factors, including:
- Age: Dementia usually affects elderly people with chronic illnesses and chronic conditions. Sadly, the frail elderly are more susceptible to falls, infections, and other diseases, which could lead to an earlier death. Alzheimer’s disease may progress more slowly in younger patients (around 60-65 years old), allowing them to live longer than people over the age of 80.
- Dementia type: The brain damage that results in dementia is caused by many different conditions, each with its own patterns and progression speeds.
- The extremity of dementia at diagnosis: The progression of dementia is inevitable. People may overlook or dismiss early forgetfulness and thinking problems. It is more likely that patients with dementia will have a shorter lifespan if they are diagnosed at a later stage in the disease process.
- General health and well-being: Healthy people have a longer life expectancy than those with other illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.