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  1. #1
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    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    6

    Unhappy Can Dementia happen overnight?

    Hi all,
    Last month my mother who looks after my father who has Alzheimers, Parkinsons and a tumour on his brain was fine. She did gardening on the Sunday and by Monday she had vision problems and confusion. At first the GP who my mother called out (but doesn't remember calling out) said it was a suspected mild stroke. There was no visual signs, then after the GP had spoken to another GP they decided it was not a stroke but may be stress caused by looking after my father.
    Whatever had happened my mother was acting very strange and I took her to A&E they said they though it was to do with her High blood pressure and stress...Myself and my sister said we wanted her to have a brain scan which she did last Saturday and no results given to her at present. However today My mother got a letter asking her to come in for an appointment for Alzheimers testing.


    We are all very worried about her and my father has gone into respite while she has tests etc.

    Can Alzheimers/Dementia come on so sudden?

    Thanks

    Caz
     

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    4,715
    Hiya Caz and welcome to Talking Point. So sorry to hear about your mum and the problems she is having right now. From what you have said, it certainly looks like she is being well looked after and being given all the necessary tests to find out what has happened to her. There are a number of things that can cause symptoms not unlike Alzheimers in the elderly and the doctors will be testing to exclude these before making any diagnosis. Theoretically dementia could happen over night if, say, there has been some kind of injury to the brain, particularly in the area which governs things like memory etc. My mother for example was first tested after having had an unexplained fall where she had then forgotten that she smoked! Before that she had had deteriorating memory but the family had put it down to being age related rather than dementia. After her fall however, she never recovered 100% and that was really the start of her journey with dementia. No one knows for sure what caused the fall but it was suspected that it was a TIA.

    As difficult as it might be, you really have to wait for the medical folks to reach their conclusions once they've carried out all the tests. The fact that they have reacted quickly to doing the testing is great as some people get stuck in the system and it can take years to get a proper diagnosis.

    Hope this helps,

    Fiona
     

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by FifiMo View Post
    Hiya Caz and welcome to Talking Point. So sorry to hear about your mum and the problems she is having right now. From what you have said, it certainly looks like she is being well looked after and being given all the necessary tests to find out what has happened to her. There are a number of things that can cause symptoms not unlike Alzheimers in the elderly and the doctors will be testing to exclude these before making any diagnosis. Theoretically dementia could happen over night if, say, there has been some kind of injury to the brain, particularly in the area which governs things like memory etc. My mother for example was first tested after having had an unexplained fall where she had then forgotten that she smoked! Before that she had had deteriorating memory but the family had put it down to being age related rather than dementia. After her fall however, she never recovered 100% and that was really the start of her journey with dementia. No one knows for sure what caused the fall but it was suspected that it was a TIA.

    As difficult as it might be, you really have to wait for the medical folks to reach their conclusions once they've carried out all the tests. The fact that they have reacted quickly to doing the testing is great as some people get stuck in the system and it can take years to get a proper diagnosis.

    Hope this helps,

    Fiona
    Thank you Fiona for replying. I did look up TIA as a friend of mine mentioned the same thing. Wow if she has it that is a double whammy for us. My mothers mum had dementia and it's now making me wonder if that will be the way I go also.

    Thanks once again

    Caz
     

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    33
    Hi Caz
    True dementia does not appear overnight - by definition of the disease, it is a slow, insidious process. In the case of vascular dementia, you can see a definate step-wise decline in function, which is why the doctors NEED to rule out a stroke or TIA (they are basically the same thing, the only difference is that it is assumed that the clot that caused the stroke has completely resolved, within 24 hours, in a TIA. If there are ANY residual symptoms after 24 hours - it is a stroke.

    Other things to exclude:
    1) a urinary tract infection!!! DO NOT underestimate the effect of these in the elderly. I have worked in A&E depts where people, previoulsy completely independent - will get on a bus and have no idea where to get off, they are confused, disorientated, and look like they have dementia. You speak to the family - and they were fine the day before! I am sure your GP will check this, but if not - have him do a dipstick of her urine to check for a UTI.

    2) Stroke/TIA

    3) Is she on any medications? Changes in meds or even long-standing meds can cause trouble if they start to accumulate in the system due to poor kidney function - see #1 again.

    4) Did she have a fall, could she have a head injury. She may not recall the fall or even report it. Again a brain CT scan or MRI would rule out anything sinister there.

    5) Electrolyte imbalances - this part gets a bit technical, but your doc or GP should do a full range of blood tests to check her Calcium, magnesium, potassium etc levels.

    Hope you get to the bottom of this!! Wishing you and your family well.

    K
     

 

 

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