Do Dementia Patients Forget How to Breathe

Is it possible to die from dementia? Alzheimer’s disease affects more than just your ability to remember things. It is a dangerous, progressive condition that is, in the end, lethal to the patient. Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia have now surpassed heart disease as the top cause of death in the United States.

Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, is a brain disorder that impairs thinking and memory. Consequently, the inquiry would be, “Does Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia lead people to be unable to breathe?”

Why Did I Not Say ‘Forget to Breathe?’

It is because the disease dementia eventually damages the brain to the point where the person is no longer able to control their breathing on their own. Breathing is one of the most fundamental tasks that the brain is in charge of. A person who suffers from any form of dementia will eventually be unable to breathe if that area of the brain has been seriously affected.

Dementia progressively worsens with time. And eventually, people die as a result of it. It is impossible to survive dementia. Many people die from various causes before their dementia progresses to the point where they are utterly unable to breathe on their own. Their deaths could be caused by pneumonia, heart disease, or a stroke, for example.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to eradicate dementia in all of its manifestations. It may be several years before we are able to accomplish this, if at all (stopping ALL forms of dementia is a tall order).

The goal is to first understand what happens in the brain of each type of dementia and then to do everything we can to delay the advancement of the disease, which is what we are currently focusing on. Each type of dementia has a unique treatment regimen.

There is a strong link between Alzheimer’s dementia and two misfolded proteins in the brain. The way those proteins are constructed is governed by genetics. We are currently developing “mouse models” of the protein to see whether we can develop medications that prevent those two proteins from accumulating and so clearing them out. Basic testing for such medications can be performed in a Petrie dish with a large number of those defective proteins. We presently believe that the proteins accumulating in the brain are the cause of the damage, or at the very least play a significant role in the brain’s degeneration. In the long run, we’d like to fix those proteins so that they won’t be made wrongly in the first place. Given that those two proteins do have a role that they’re supposed to be executing, this is the preferable option. Most likely, actual therapy would include both the removal of faulty proteins and the administration of gene therapy to ensure that the proteins currently being produced and those to be produced in the future are constructed correctly.

And here’s the kicker: those two proteins begin to accumulate decades before the first symptoms, such as amnesia, manifest themselves. People would need to be screened for Alzheimer-type dementia gene patterns in their early twenties if they wanted to be included in the study. That is the point at which the illness process actually begins. It is at this point that counseling must begin. It’s possible that we’ll have to start treatment even earlier than that.

Vascular dementia, on the other hand, is extremely different. As far as we can tell, obesity and other unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, and having untreated high blood pressure, cholesterol buildup, and diabetes are the primary causes. Vascular dementia is a type of dementia for which we can take early action. We understand what is causing it. We’ve figured out how to put a stop to it. However, we are unable to persuade people to modify their habits. That is the difficulty with vascular dementia: people are adamant about not changing their ways. Obesity and diabetes have reached pandemic proportions. In order to address this issue, our healthcare system must be entirely redesigned, shifting from being a strict accounting problem with the sole purpose of saving money in the near term to becoming a healthcare system that emphasizes prevention.

Other types of dementia, such as front-temporal lobe dementia, are far more difficult to diagnose and understand, and it will likely take us much longer to figure out why they occur and how to prevent them from occurring.

Accidents and Mishaps Happen All the Time

People suffering from dementia may find it difficult to maintain their safety and independence. It is possible that memory loss, difficulties with planning, and difficulty executing complex jobs can raise the risk of accidents at home and when traveling. Mobility, stability, and spatial awareness can all be compromised, increasing the risk of falling and sustaining a potentially life-threatening fracture.

Food and Infirmity

People suffering with dementia in their later stages find it difficult to eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They may find it difficult to shop for and prepare meals, and as a result, they may stop eating and lose weight. It is possible that they will lose muscle control and be unable to chew or swallow towards the conclusion of the disease. Individuals can become fragile and weak if they do not receive adequate nutrition, increasing their risk of falling, fractures, and infections, all of which can result in mortality.

When we swallow and breathe together, the brain is in charge of making that happen. This ability is lost in patients with end-stage dementia. Your loved one may become dehydrated, or they may inhale food or fluids, which can result in choking and chest infections are known as aspiration pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. These have the potential to be life-threatening.

Co-existing Illnesses Are a Medical Term

Many patients who suffer from dementia also have other chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease, which makes them more vulnerable. When you have Alzheimer’s disease, it might be more difficult to maintain your overall health and well-being, which increases the likelihood of complications linked with these disorders occurring.

Consistency and Self-Care Are Essential

As dementia progresses, toileting and maintaining personal hygiene becomes increasingly challenging. Many people lose control of their bladder and bowels during the late stages of the disease. This raises the risk of urinary infections, which can result in delirium, increased confusion, and falls as a result. They can be fatal, especially in the elderly who are already fragile.

Ulcers on the Skin

As the disease progresses, both physical and mental abilities begin to deteriorate, which is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. As the muscles become stiff, your loved one will require assistance in moving around and managing all elements of daily living. This can increase the likelihood of developing pressure sores and ulcers, which can get infected and put the individual’s health at risk.

Individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease lose their ability to speak and respond to their surroundings as the disease progresses. As a result of brain damage, many bodily functions such as the lungs, heart, and digestion are compromised. People who are nearing the end of their lives frequently require round-the-clock care to remain comfortable.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you may find this blog disturbing, if not downright overwhelming. Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult condition to deal with from the time of diagnosis to the end of one’s life. However, there is still the possibility of happiness. You can assist your loved one in living well with dementia and dying with dignity if you provide them with the appropriate support and care.

Dementia is a condition that might last for years on end. While it may be difficult to think of these conditions as terminal, they do eventually result in death unless treated. Caregivers frequently face unique obstacles when dealing with the end of life of a dementia patient, in part due to the unpredictable nature of the disease’s course. The following are some considerations for people with dementia who are nearing the end of their lives.

Patients with dementia and their families: a guide to decision-making

The body of a person suffering from dementia may nevertheless be in good condition. But when the symptoms of dementia worsen, persons with dementia may be unable to make or communicate decisions about their own health care as they near the end of their lives. Caregivers may have to make difficult decisions on behalf of their loved ones about care and treatment approaches if there are no advance care planning documents in place and the family does not know the person’s intentions.

It’s critical to keep the patient’s well-being in mind when making medical decisions for someone with dementia. For instance, there are drugs that can delay or prevent symptoms from worsening for a short period of time. Mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s or a similar dementia may benefit from medications that help manage some behavioral issues. When it comes to persons in the later stages of these diseases, some caregivers may not want to prescribe medications because of their negative side effects.

Consider the treatment’s aims and assess the advantages, dangers, and side effects carefully. The person’s comfort may be more important than trying to extend their life or keep their faculties intact for as long as possible while making a treatment option.

Everyone is protected by disposable gloves. When handling the following items, gloves should be worn:

Providing End-Of-Life Care for a Person Suffering From Dementia

Providing emotional or spiritual support to a person with dementia might be difficult as the disease progresses. It’s possible to benefit from these relationships even in severe stages of dementia.

It’s also possible that focusing on a person’s sense of hearing, touch, or sight will provide comfort through sensory connections. Getting your body worked on can be calming. Listening to music, white noise, or natural noises seems to calm some people and lower their anxiety. As long as you’re present, you can help the person relax.

At the end of life, palliative or hospice care providers may be able to help people with dementia and their loved ones find methods to communicate and connect. They may also be able to detect the final days or weeks of life in a person with dementia.

Some of the symptoms of dementia’s latter stages include:

  • Moving around on one’s own is not possible.
  • Being unable to communicate one’s thoughts or feelings.
  • Difficulty swallowing, for example.

Experts in palliative and hospice care may be able to give a sense of how long a person has left, but it’s impossible to accurately forecast how long a person has left.

Supporting caretakers of people with dementia as they near the end of their lives

For the family caregiver, providing end-of-life care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can be taxing and distressing. Many carers suffer from depression and exhaustion because they feel like they are always on call. Because of their caring responsibilities, family carers may be forced to reduce or eliminate their employment hours.

Those who cared for a person with advanced dementia often experience a sense of relief upon the death of their patient. It’s vital to remember that these kinds of emotions are completely natural. When a loved one is nearing the end of his or her life, hospice care experts can assist the family caregivers in dealing with their grief.

To be a caretaker, you need to know about respite care and how to get it.

You can reach Melodia Care at any time of day or night by contacting us through our 24/7 online customer support chat or by calling 1-888 635-6347 (MELODI-7).

4 thoughts on “Do Dementia Patients Forget How to Breathe”

  1. I found this very helpful. I lost my mun 7th September she had a combined condition of Alzheimers and vascular dementia. Wish I could have done more but the whole process was totally exhausting – I do not regret one moment of it. I looked after her for seven years and I would do again in a heartbeat!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. We’re deeply sorry for your loss, and we truly appreciate the immense love and care you provided to your mom over the seven years. Your dedication is truly inspiring. If there’s anything we can assist you with or if you ever need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

      Warm regards,
      MelodiaCare Hospice

  2. my dad has dementia his geting worse fidgeting with his fingers always wanting to go out side for air hiding his pants under his bad wallet under his pillow. his breathing is geting worse

    1. We understand this is a difficult time and seeing your loved ones in this situation is difficult. Do share your contact so our representative can call you and assist to further. Please remember, in case of any emergency, call 911.

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