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Memory and language loss, impaired judgment, and other cognitive changes caused by Alzheimer's can complicate treatment for other health conditions. A person with Alzheimer's disease may not be able to:
As Alzheimer's disease progresses to its last stages, brain changes begin to affect physical functions, such as swallowing, balance, and bowel and bladder control. These effects can increase vulnerability to additional health problems such as:
Pneumonia and other infections. Difficulty swallowing may cause people with Alzheimer's to inhale (aspirate) food or liquid into their airways and lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.
Inability to control emptying of the bladder (urinary incontinence) may require placement of a tube to drain and collect urine (urinary catheter). Having a catheter increases your risk of urinary tract infections, which can lead to more-serious, life-threatening infections.
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