How long can you live with a dementia disorder?

There are more than 200 dementia disorders. They are all fatal, but you can live with dementia for many years. It is difficult to say precisely how long you can live with the disorder, as this depends on the type of dementia disorder you are suffering from and your health in general.

Different diseases, different pathways

Many dementia disorders are similar, but there are also dementia disorders that are very different from the others. It is therefore impossible to estimate how long a person can live with a dementia disorder. It depends on the individual disease.

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, it will ordinarily slowly become more serious over a number of years. It typically takes 7-10 years from the diagnosis until the person has severe dementia and eventually dies from the disease.

Vascular dementia is the second most prevalent form of dementia. How quickly vascular dementia develops varies widely.

A person who has developed dementia as a result of Huntington’s disease will typically have 15-20 years from the disease being diagnosed until they die of it.

If you have developed a dementia disorder due to drug or alcohol abuse, or have been subjected to toxic fumes, you could live with the disorder for many years without the symptoms worsening. In this case, it is not possible to say anything about how long a person can live with the disease.

Although it is possible to quantify how long people typically live with the most prevalent dementia disorders, you should bear in mind that the figures are an average. Some people die more quickly, while others live much longer. As scientists develop more effective treatments and medicines, it might be possible to live much longer with a dementia disorder.

More information: Living with dementia 

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Dementia figures

It is not possible to predict how long a particular individual could live with a specific dementia disorder. It depends on many individual factors such as other illnesses, how aggressive the dementia disorder is and treatment.

On the other hand, it is possible to share these headline figures on dementia in Denmark:

  • In Denmark, approximately 85,000 people live with a diagnosed dementia disease.
  • Of these, approximately 50,000 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Approximately 1,500 people under the age of 65 years have a dementia disorder.
  • Each year, approximately 8,000 people are told they have a dementia disorder.
  • Researchers expect that twice as many people will have dementia in 2040 as in 2020.
  • 400,000 people in Denmark are close relatives of a person with dementia.
  • Only 50% of all people with dementia are actually diagnosed with the disorder.
  • Relatives of people with dementia living at home spend an average of 5-7 hours a day caring for them.
  • Dementia disorders cost Denmark more than DKK 20 billion annually.
  • Dementia is the fifth most frequent cause of death in Denmark.
  • Once every three hours a person dies in Denmark due to a dementia disorder.
  • Every year, approximately 1,500 people with dementia wander.
  • About once a month, a person with dementia wanders and dies because they are not found in time.