1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Tara

    Tara Registered User

    Feb 9, 2004
    10
    North Lincolnshire
    My mother is 62 and has had A.D for a long while now. i go and visit her in the nursing home as often as i can, anyway for the last month or so she has started to loose contol of her bowels. she has also been fainting(which is getting to be a regular thing now). The Dr has seen her but can think of no reason why she's fainting. Sometimes she'll have a bowel movement then faint or the other way around. I don't no if what's happening to her is all part and parcel of A.D or if something else could be wrong.
    Has anybody got any suggestions of how i can find out please.
    I'm quite worried about what's happening to her.
    Tara.
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Jan used to 'faint' a lot, including in her sleep [9 times one night].

    Some people have suggested that the 'faints' were 'fits' or were transient ischaemic attacks.

    To me they were faints, with all the normal symptoms except some were VERY severe - ie I thought Jan was dead.

    Yes, faints can be a part of dementia, whether Alzheimer's, or another type. The term Alzheimer's is used very loosely to cover all dementias, frequently, even by medics.

    Being unpredictable as to timing they can be very worrying.

    I relied on my being with her to help, though she had one once when I was in Belfast phoning her, and she fainted mid phone call. Fortunately I could call neighbours to help.

    Afterwards she would complain that the back of her head felt numb, much loke post migraine symptoms.

    Wish you all the luck!
     
  3. Tara

    Tara Registered User

    Feb 9, 2004
    10
    North Lincolnshire
    Thanks Bruce for your reply. It has eased my mind to know that my mum is not the only one to have/had these "faintings". They are quite worrying tho, arn't they. Is there nothin Dr's can do about it. My mum's key worker told me that the Dr said "He didn't know why they were happening", and that was all.
    Many Thanks
    Tara
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    There wasn't anything that I ever found to do, so Jan and I worked out a plan for when she felt a faint coming on when she was awake.

    She would feel the faint coming - she described it as feeling something rising in her chest.

    She would try and fight it and the first thing I asked her to do each time, was to recognise the feeling then get to the floor, with her head at the lowest point of her body [within reason!]. So, the normal thing - get blood back to the brain. That brought her back in the quickest time and also often stopped the full faint happening.

    These faints can be MAJOR. As I said before, on two occasions I thought Jan had died. Eyes staring sightlessly, mouth open, no sign of pulse, dead white, no breath. Scared the hell out of me.

    I learned to sleep so lightly that I could recognise, at any time overnight, when Jan was staring to faint. One particular night - it was most strange - she was fainting to a schedule. She would faint exactly one hour after the previous faint - in her sleep, so she had no notion of time. I would lie there counting down and saying to myself "Jan will faint.....NOW!" And she would.

    Doctors tried all sorts of tests - ambulatory heart monitors, suggestions of pacemakers, extensive tests by Professor Camm [fantastic man] at St George's involving a weird 'Tilt test'.

    None ever knew what it was. They also tried tests for epilepsy, to no avail.

    Eventually the faints stopped as Jan's condition deteriorated. Good news, and bad news.
     
  5. Tara

    Tara Registered User

    Feb 9, 2004
    10
    North Lincolnshire
    It must have been awful for you......and Jan. Luckily i have never been at the home when my mum has had "one of these fainting spells". I think that if ever i do have the horrible experience of being there( which will of course happen one day) then it will scare the pants off me. I try to hide it alot if i get upset when visiting. Sadly my mum wouldn't be able to tell any one if she feels funny before she faints, i don't think it registers with her. The staff at the home just said that she can be walking around one minute then drop the next, they check her blood pressure(which always seems to be fine). So yes, very scarey. If A.D isn't enough to contend with, she has this to deal with aswell!! I do hope there is a cure soon. I know its probably too late for my mum, but hopefully not for others.
    Tara.
     
  6. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    787
    Buckinghamshire
    Your accounts of faints have taken me right back to my husband's pre-diagnosis time: it was his inexplicable faints, which made us seek help. Initially, he passed out a couple of times, later on it was not what I would call fainting - he would suddenly go ashen, very cold, with staring eyes, sometimes he would just slump, other times he would shudder and hyperventilate. This only ever lasted from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. We always calmed him down, held him tight, talked to him quietly, and so the attacks passed relatively quickly, but were very scary, nevertheless.
    Tony always described it as though a bucket of icy cold water had been chucked at him, but instead of running down him from his head to his toes, it felt as though it was 'rising' from his feet upwards. Once it even happened at the surgery. All sorts of tests were carried out, but nobody ever gave us an explanation. When I said to one GP how worried I was, and could it perhaps have something to do with hormones, she replied "men don't have hormones, he is just badly put together". Dismissed......
    I was far too angry to reply!
    Does any of this tally with experiences anybody else has had?
    Regards, Carmen
     
  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Carmen
    it does tally in one way: during the fainting period when we were trying to identify the problem, it was decided to fit Jan with an ambulatory heart monitor. This was fitted at the hospital in Guildford, then they asked us to wait for a few minutes after the fitting. During this time Jan felt a faint starting, so I called them to her.

    They took her to a side room and closed the door. Next thing, all hell broke lose - bells ringing, lights flashing, people running from everywhere. A nurse told me she had arrested, but that she was fine after they had started her again.

    We thought "Great, the monitor will have captured it all". No such luck, there was just a big....nothing.

    Strange thing was no-one ever answered why this had happened.

    Interesting the similarity in the feeling of something rising just before the faints.
     
  8. John Bottomley

    John Bottomley Registered User

    Apr 7, 2004
    30
    Medication

    One point to consider is that neuroleptic medication can cause such serious side effects. Such medication should be seriously considered, as suggested on the Alzheimers society site.

    Also, medication that was prescribed sensibly in the past may now be no longer necessary, or the dose may be too high (as, with time, the body may not be able to handle getting rid of medicines as well and the effective dose builds up), or side effects may become more pronounced. In anyone having such striking episodes, a thorough review of all medication is very important, since this can either be the whole cause or be contributing to what's happening.
     
  9. Tara

    Tara Registered User

    Feb 9, 2004
    10
    North Lincolnshire
    Faintings

    Thanks John for your input. I hadn't even thought about medication. My mum has since seen the doctor and he has arranged for her to have full blood tests aswell as a fasting glucose blood test. He says if they come back ok then he will arrange for my mum to have a ECG. He mentioned something about Stokes Syndrome?? Where the heart beats normally then for some reason the heart rate just drops? But he didn't go too much into it as we would have to wait for the results about her blood tests. I will mention to the nurse at the home about mum's medication.
    Thanks everyone.

    Tara.
     
  10. Angela

    Angela Registered User

    May 28, 2003
    151
    Wales
    Just in passing... I too know someone who had an "funny turn" whilst on the commode. She felt all funny just beforehand, and was not able to tell me what was wrong. Seconds later she appeared to suffer an ischemic attack, (lack of oxygen) and passed out. No obvious reason, she came round within two minutes as if nothing had happened.
     
  11. John Bottomley

    John Bottomley Registered User

    Apr 7, 2004
    30
    Stoke attack

    The charitable British Heart Foundation has a good description of heart problems causing collapse.

    A Stoke attack is summarised as :
    Complete or third degree heart block involves a very low heart rate, between only 25-3O beats a minute. The sufferer may faint or collapse as a result, which may also be referred to as ‘Stoke Adams attack’. This term now tends to be used less specifically to describe a fainting attack due to any abnormality of heart rhythm.


    Good news is it's often pretty straightforward to sort out. Hope all goes well!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.