Rosalynn Carter’s Cause Of Death Explained – Health Digest

Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease that destroys the connections in your brain. The Columbia University Department of Neurology states it starts by destroying parts of the brain linked to personality and decision-making, like the hippocampus. However, as it progresses, the disease works deeper into the brain to destroy more cells and connections, inhibiting basic functions like breathing and heart rate.

This makes the person susceptible to underlying complications, per Alzheimer’s Society. As a person enters the later stages of dementia, they become more frail, develop problems eating and drinking, and have less mobility. They also have a weaker immune system, making them at a higher risk for infection. Therefore, complications from dementia lead to malnutrition, pneumonia, stroke, heart disease, and blood clot deaths, per Medical News Today. The Alzheimer’s Society noted pneumonia is a leading cause of death for those who have dementia. However, Dr. Scott Small, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Columbia University, stated, “What matters most is the dying of cells.”

It’s difficult to know how long a person can live with this incurable disease. Research in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that life expectancy with dementia varies based on the age of diagnosis. For example, women diagnosed at 65 had a life expectancy of 18 years, while those diagnosed at 95 lived about 2.3 years. It was lower for men by a few years.