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Suffering from dementia, diabetes. Now sleeping all the time, not eating properly. Life expectancy?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 338 Questions
I have a motherinlaw who has dementia. She is in an nursing home. The past two weeks my husband and I have seen a steady decline in her health. She is basically in bed , can only speak two words at the most and they make no sense , staff are feeding her , last three days she is not eating , sleeping all the time ,only wakes if you wake her, difficulty holding her head up, she is diabetic , has had a number of TIA's over the last three years. Staff had trouble waking her two weeks ago. I feel she is dying and probably doesn't have long?
Posted Fri, 3 May 2013 in Alzheimer's
Answered by Dr. Maruti Karale 2 hours later
Thanks for the query.

We can not tell the prognosis just from the brain status of the patient. Though she has many co-morbidities, we can can not lose hopes till other vital organs are functioning.

Some times acute insults due to metabolic changes in body affects brain functioning and leads to metabolic encephalopathy in which patient can have such status as you described. Some patients take 3-4 weeks also to recover from encephalopathy.

Prognosis can be better judged along with the other parameters like BUN, creatinine, Serum Na, K+, urine output, oxygen saturation, heart rate, blood pressure, septicemia.

Brain functioning may not improve completely, but she may improve if all the above parameters are not much affected.

Hope you will understand the things mentioned.

Reply back for any doubts.

Thank you.

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