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Dementia has many causes and can take many forms. Some complications may be the result of the underlying illness that is causing the dementia. Others may arise from the dementia itself.
Possible complications of dementia, regardless of its cause, include the following:
As the disease progresses, additional complications may include:
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Complications of AD may include the following:
Those with AD can become easily confused and frustrated. This can lead to harmful or violent behavior toward themselves or others. They may also not eat or drink properly, which can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.
If AD reaches its final stages, the complications include:
During the end stages of AD, a number of complications related to immobility may occur. These might include:
People with dementia will eventually need to be cared for by family or a professional caregiver. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, dealing with Alzheimer’s can sometimes be counterintuitive.
Remember, caretakers need to care for themselves to effectively care for others. There are many resources available for caregivers to provide support and guidance. Caregiver support can be found at:
Mild cognitive impairment doesn’t always lead to dementia. Depending on the cause, some dementias might be reversible. However, most dementia is progressive. This means it gets worse over time. Treatments focus on relieving the symptoms and slowing the progression. Each case is different. Dementia may progress quickly or slowly. This often depends on the cause. In general, dementia shortens life expectancy. This varies with the person and the cause.
Written by: Wendy Leonard, MPH
Medically reviewed on: Jan 05, 2017: Dillon Browne, PhD
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