How Fast Does Alzheimer's Disease Progress?
Alzheimer's Disease

How Fast Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress?

After diagnoses, one of the first questions may be “How fast does Alzheimer’s disease progress” followed by a range of additional questions. Unfortunately, there are no clear cut rules on how fast Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia progress. The following information, however, does provide more insight into the question of “How fast does Alzheimer’s disease progress” as well as answers to other commonly asked questions.

How Fast Does Alzheimer's Disease Progress?

The progression rate for Alzheimer's disease can vary widely. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease average between three and 11 years after diagnosis. However, some with the disease live two decades or more.

It's important to understand the extent of impairment and the progression of the disease at diagnosis can have a significant effect on life expectancy. For example, someone with an early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease may have a longer life expectancy compared to someone diagnosed in the later stage of the disease.

What's the Average Time Between When Symptoms Begin and Diagnosis?

In many instances, Alzheimer's disease can go undiagnosed for several years. According to research produced by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the average amount of time between when diagnosis is made and when symptoms start is approximately 2.8 years.

What Causes Death with Alzheimer's Disease?

According Mayo Clinic, one of the most common causes of death amongst Alzheimer’s patients is pneumonia as well as:

  • Dehydration
  • Falls
  • Malnutrition
  • And other types of infections

How Does Alzheimer’s Impact Life Expectancy?

According to a study, the key factors that determine how long someone lives after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are gender, age, and level of disability:

  • While men lived approximately 4.1 years following diagnosis, women lived approximately 4.6 years.
  • When someone who is over the age of 90 is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, they live 3.8 years. In contrast, someone under the age of 70 lived 10.7 years.
  • If a patient was frail when they were diagnosed, they didn't live as long — even after the adjustment for age has been made.

In the end, the average survival time for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia was 4.5 years.

How to Improve a Loved One's Quality of Life After Diagnosis?

While there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, there are activities and therapies designed to improve your loved one’s quality of life. For example, the extent to which your loved one with Alzheimer's disease can maintain their social relationships may play a large role.

At home, it's important to try to maintain as much normalcy as possible. In particular, it can be helpful for your loved one to maintain their household responsibilities. In the later stages of the disease, your loved one's needs are likely to change, and it's critical for you — as a caregiver — to know how to care for yourself as well as your loved one.

Contact Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation

At the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation, we offer a range of innovative programs for each phase of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, such as:

Our programs are based on proven best practices that help provide a safe, structured environment for mental stimulation and socialization to improve your loved one's quality of life. By focusing on your loved one's abilities — not their disabilities, we create a safe environment where they can experience activities they still take joy and pleasure in doing. In addition, we offer several solutions for caregivers, such as:

  1. In-Home Caregiver Respite
  2. Day Programs for Caregiver Respite
  3. Caregiver Support Groups
  4. And more

Our goal is to help you — a caregiver — be at your best so you can continue giving your best.

About the Author Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation

At the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) our mission is to improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, and their caregivers. We actively work to achieve this mission through research-based programming for all stages of Alzheimer’s, Caregiver Support Groups, in-home respite solutions, transportation options, and additional services.

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Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?