The life span of someone with Alzheimer’s dementia is more affected by other medical conditions now and prior to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
It also makes a difference if they are living a busy active lifestyle, as this tends to extend life.
My Mom was in her late 70’s when diagnosed and lived till age 82. But, Alzheimer’s wasn’t the main cause of her death. Mom had heart disease before the Alzheimer’s diagnsis and eventually passed away from lung cancer, though she had never been a smoker.
So it isn’t all conclusive that if we get Alzheimer’s, it will cause our death.
Many major illnesses weaken the system so much that it is not unusual for co-morbidity to exist. I have COPD and it’s exactly the same. When our body is in a weakened condition, we are more likely to have other dire medical conditions.
So no, we aren’t able to tell how long someone will live with Alzheimer’s dementia.
Generally, it does appear that women live longer than men with Alzheimer’s, but that is true for the general population as well.
Women tend to live approx 6 years after they are diagnosed, but men usually live approx 4 years. That doesn’t mean they only live that long after Alzheimer’s disease begins but rather after they are diagnosed.
Many have had Alzheimer’s for 10-15 years or more before they actually received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Looking back, I’m sure my mother had it for many years, even before her husband passed away. Yet, with his assistance when she could no long function in a particular area, her incompetence wasn’t noted until she lived alone.
During studies, American’s with Alzheimer’s survived about half as long as those of a similar age without Alzheimer’s. The older a person is when diagnosed, the shorter the life expectancy also.
My own mom only lived about 3 years after being diagnosed but she was already in her late 70’s. And, she had shown symptoms for many years which we had attributed simply to “old age.” She may have actually had Alzheimer’s for 10+ years.
So there are many variations and considerations to be studied before anyone could even guess at their life expectancy.
Imagine hearing these words: “She has Alzheimer’s.” Now imagine that “she” is vibrant, active, loving, healthy…and just 55. Acclaimed CBS News reporter Barry Petersen, writes about hearing the unimaginable: what it meant, what it still means, what he did–and didn’t do–and how this beautiful love story needs to be read by the thousands of families who have already heard that same devastating diagnosis…
EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S. Jan’s Story is a full, rich story of two people–and thousands like them–for whom “forever” suddenly and terrifyingly has an expiration date. Barry Petersen is a long-time, award-winning TV journalist who has covered wars, the devastating Asian tsunami, the historic confrontation at Tiananmen Square, the unspeakable deaths in Rwanda, and so much more…but was not even slightly prepared for what happened to his darling wife, Jan. LEARN MORE