A few pointers please


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
N E England
As I have mentioned before my Dad has been in the earlier stages of vascular dementia & is still living independently with a lot of support from me. Despite his problems with time, date operating washing machine, cash machine etc he was mostly coherent to talk to, even being able to discuss current affairs from the news programmes he has watched. This week he has had a sharp decline in his mental capacities & is quite delusional. This coincides with him complaining of a pain in his left arm keeping him awake on Monday night. He was rubbing his arm on Tuesday as well. Took him to GP on Monday (not the useless one I mentioned before, another one in the same practise) The GP got him to do various tests, putting arms behind head etc etc & then recommended an ECG which was today & fine.

I do understand that no one here even if a qualified nurse is able to give me medical advice but I am wondering if his decline is due to the much colder weather we are having with his condition being vascular or is the pain in the arm significant, (mini stroke?) He went his GP in Feb 06 with the same complaint.

What I am actually looking for is any advice, I took him to the GP he has had the ECG today, is there more I can & should be doing. Do I take him back to the GP & if so what do I ask for?


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Does he still have the arm pain?

I'm thinking if it was a stroke, pain wouldn't be so much the issue, it would be loss of function. And pain in the arm can indicative of a heart attack but they've done an ECG so that sounds as if that's ruled out.

If they haven't already done so I would try to persuade them to test for a urinary tract infection which can cause a dramatic downturn. It's possible that the arm pain is coincidental, particularly if it's easing off.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Chrissyan

Do you think your father might have been sitting in a draught, and that might be the cause of the pain in his arm? The last time he complained was Feb 06, winter again.

And my husband is being affected very much by the cold. He keeps saying he has never been so cold in his life. Our heating is on all day.

The trouble is, it`s so difficult to get the right information about aches and pains. All we can do is see the GP and be thankful if we have a good one.

I hope you get to the bottom of it. I know how worrying it is when there are complaints and you don`t know wheter they are real, imaginary, severe or not.

Love xx


Registered User
Feb 2, 2004
North London
Mini Strokes

I would suggest that it is quite possible your father is having mini strokes. My mum has had 4 or 5 over the last 2-3 years. She also complains about pains in her left arm. Unfortunately, these mini strokes usually only last a very short time and by the time they have been taken to hospital no signs are showing. However, what you do notice is a decline in their abilities. Sometimes very minor but in mum's case this last time (last Wednesday week) her abilities declined considerably. Also I agree that it may be worth asking for a sample of urine to be taken and tested for a UTI. These urinary infections are very common with dementia sufferers and can have the most horrendous affect on the sufferers abilities. Fortunately these can usually be put right with antibiotics and the downturn in abilities can and more often than not, do pick up again. The sooner perscribed the better.
Don't be fobbed off at all, make sure you get all tests taken. Take care and best wishes to you both.

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
I think Jennywren's post is spot on. My experiences with my father who had vascular dementia was that the evidence of the mini strokes came from the decline in mental ability and that the physical symptom could be very slight, or even not evident. It was also very varied e.g a 'fainting fit' that lasted just moments, a change of mood, an increase in activity. On occasions he told me of a 'fall' he'd had, which in retrospect I think was a mini stroke, and this sometimes caused a minor injury or pain to a limb. Having said that, it is certainly important to rule out all possibilities and a check for a unirary infection would be sensible. The down side of vascular dementia is the sudden declines, the upside is that the plateaux in between can be lengthy.
Thinking of you
Blue sea


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
N E England
Thank you all for your advice, my Dad appears to still have the arm pain.

My Dad lives in a dormer bungalow & assuming he sleeps on his back there is a small sized door going into the eaves of the roof to his left, it might be worth investigating the draught theory. Never crossed my mind.

I will take him back to the GP & ask for a urine test.


Registered User
Oct 25, 2006
I don't know if this will help. My Mum has mixed dementia and is still at home. She has been complaining about pain in her arm and shoulder for some time. She has had loads of tests done and the doctor can find no reason for her pain. However, she is still in pain and it often makes her cry, which is distressing for everyone. We hsve bought her a TENS machine which she uses when the pain gets bad. She uses it with a programme that varies the electrical impulses and this seems to distract her from the pain. It seems to help her quite a lot. Maybe a TENS machine would help your Dad? Of course, you are quite right to check out all the physical causes of the pain first, but, if like my Mum the tests draw a blank, a TENS machine might give some relief from the pain.