Author Topic: Chronic Dementia at 35?!  (Read 474 times)

Offline tinkerbell5

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Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« on: Sunday 08 November 20 22:38 GMT (UK) »
I've found the death certificate of a relative in my tree. Her cause of death is given as "chronic dementia - 2 years". However, she was only 35 years old (the record also states this). I know the term "dementia" used to cover a lot of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, but this couldn't be the cause of death? I'm just confused how a doctor could certify that this caused the death of a 35 year old lady... I don't suppose anyone could please shed some light on this for me?

Offline Girl Guide

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 08 November 20 22:54 GMT (UK) »
I would have thought it more likely that she died from something else rather than dementia itself.

A quote here giving an explanation:-

"The actual death of a person with dementia may be caused by another condition. They are likely to be frail towards the end. Their ability to cope with infection and other physical problems will be impaired due to the progress of dementia. In many cases death may be hastened by an acute illness such as pneumonia."

My husband had dementia towards the end of his life but he didn't die from it.  His death was caused by something quite different.

I believe that dementia can cause people to become frail and the immune system is not as efficient as it could be.
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Offline Albufera32

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 08 November 20 23:02 GMT (UK) »
Although associated with old age, dementia and in particular it's most well known form Alzheimer's, can strike the young as well, even today.
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Offline Palladium

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 08 November 20 23:08 GMT (UK) »
With the 'flu epidemic around the time of WW1 there was 'LETHARGIC ENCEPHALITIS' doing the rounds as well......
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Offline tinkerbell5

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 08 November 20 23:17 GMT (UK) »
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all of your help. I know that dementia can sadly strike very early but I was surprised to come across it on this record - I should have added that this was in 1872. The reason I was thinking it may have been in reference to another mental illness was due to the use of the term "dementia praecox" around this time.

Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #5 on: Monday 09 November 20 15:27 GMT (UK) »
Syphilis was sometimes a cause, I think, especially if the poor person had been infected from birth the onset could have been early?
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Offline pharmaT

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #6 on: Monday 09 November 20 15:55 GMT (UK) »
Although say vascular dementia is a specific diagnosis these days dementia can also be used as a catch all term for loss of mental capacity. It's not impossible for it to be dementia as we know it. Early onset dementia although rare does occur and it tends to progress more quickly than other dementias.  In this case it could also have been due to a traumatic head injury, tertiary syphilis (although not normally called this IME) a stroke, encephalitis or some mental health issue.  Should be noted if she had only had it 2 years then schizophrenia rarely presents itself in the 30s, it is usually diagnosed in people in their early 20s or during puberty
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Offline BushInn1746

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #7 on: Monday 09 November 20 17:36 GMT (UK) »
I've found the death certificate of a relative in my tree. Her cause of death is given as "chronic dementia - 2 years". However, she was only 35 years old (the record also states this). I know the term "dementia" used to cover a lot of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, but this couldn't be the cause of death? I'm just confused how a doctor could certify that this caused the death of a 35 year old lady... I don't suppose anyone could please shed some light on this for me?

There is a list here of how dementia might be determined ...
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/about/

There is a possibility that a severe illness (besides syphilis) such as a Viral illness like Chickenpox, could result in a rare infection of the brain causing Encephalitis (inflamation), a rare but serious condition.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/encephalitis/

Side effects of medications, illicit drug use, alcoholism, can also cause brain damage problems.

In 2018 the use of several prescribed drugs in the UK were linked to a high risk of dementia. The literature of one drug, over a decade earlier said in the side effects that irreversible brain injury had occurred.

What was the year of death?

Mark

Offline Rosinish

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Re: Chronic Dementia at 35?!
« Reply #8 on: Monday 09 November 20 18:16 GMT (UK) »
I agree it did seem an odd 'cause of death', maybe Doctors didn't have to be so precise in 1872?

Today I found the husband of my 1st cousin x 2 removes in the Asylum Records of 1929 aged 28 yrs with 'Dementia Pracosse' (Praecox) & after 6 months there, he had 'not improved' when he was discharged.

He'd also been admitted to 2 different Asylums 5 yrs previously in 1924 aged 23 yrs.
One of the headings on the entry is 'Age on first attack' - given as 23 yrs

I looked it up (educational) & the Asylums he was in & found some lovely photos etc. as well as discovering he'd been in the Asylum in the County where I was born & raised, 11 miles from where I lived (decades later)!

After reading your post, I looked at the DC & he seems to have recovered somehow as he died in 1966 aged 67 yrs with Pneumonia (among other things), Colliery Deputy (Retired).

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