"As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the need to nurture, love and be loved increases." American Assoc Geriatric Psychiatrists
With the very recent passing of Tom Magliozzi on November 3rd, one of the hosts of NPR's "Car Talk", due to complications of Alzheimer's, recent reports are quick to try and explain just how Alzheimer's disease causes death.
Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disease in which deposits of abnormal proteins build up on the brain and cause brain cells to die. However, Dr. Marc L. Gordon, chief of neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, New York, says that "Alzheimer's disease is not usually a direct cause of brain death — that is, it does not suddenly cause the entire brain to cease functioning. Most often, the complications of the debilitating disease are what cause the death of Alzheimer's patients." (source)
These complications include infections, bedsores, and aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when Alzheimer's patients (who often have difficulty swallowing) inhale food. Pneumonia is responsible for nearly two thirds of the deaths of patients with dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
Though the CDC reported in 2010 that approximately 85,000 people in U.S. died from Alzheimer's disease, a recent study shows those numbers may be up to six times higher, due to many death certificates not listing Alzheimer's as an underlying cause of death.
A survey conducted by the CQC (Care Quality Commission) found that eight of ten people rate choosing to care for an elderly relative as one of the most stressful life experiences, above divorce or separation from a partner, buying a house, or getting married.
Much of the reason for this stress apparently comes from caregivers or loved ones having to sift through lacking or poor information regarding care facilities that they aren't sure that they can fully trust. When dealing with dementia especially, many family members struggle with finding the best and most viable care options, and want to make sure their loved one is protected, nurtured, and treated properly.
New data released by the NFL on Friday suggests that roughly 30% of former players will develop Alzheimer's or some form of dementia over their lifetime; a much higher percentage in comparison to the general population.
This information was calculated with regards to the NFL's ongoing concussion lawsuit, and an actuarial firm commissioned by the players. The analysis projects that an estimated 14% of former NFL players will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, with another 14% likely to develop moderate dementia.
In addition, the data perceived that former players are run twice the risk (compared with the general public) to develop early-onset Alzheimer's, dementia, ALS, or Parkinson's disease.