Dizzy and blurry with Vascular Dementia?

MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
Just wanting anyone who has cared for a Vascular Dementia person to advise. 5 1/2 months into MIL living with us with VaD diagnosis. (like most of us - looking back, I'm sure she had this diagnosis for a couple of years before it was properly diagnosed) Once she's been with us, she has given us a steady decline. Mostly mobility. Some hallucinations. VERY weak. Sleeps or is in her bed an average of 22 hours a day. But believe it or not, still mostly lucid and able to talk intelligently mostly. She fills in "holes" in her memory with tall tales ;), but I've learned that is normal, too. And another unbelievable is her appetite is still good. It dipped a few weeks ago and I thought, 'well - here we go', but she rallied and started eating like a horse. Weird. And of course, no weight loss at this point.

What I'm seeing with this disease is physical - not really mental. She started complaining about a month ago of being dizzy all the time and having blurry vision. Then yesterday was the worst so far - SO SO SO dizzy, I didn't think we'd make it to the bathroom. Then she complained that just moving her head that the "room would spin". Kind of reminded me of a hang-over. (not that I have any idea what that is like....:rolleyes:) Her words, "....the top of my head is spinning...." and "....it's spinning over my eye...." I naturally asked if she has a headache because it reminded me of one of my migraines. But no. And no nausea, either...

She has qualified for Hospice as of last week, so I have a resource to contact now, but I was frustrated when the nurse said it sounds like vertigo. Really? So, I gave her motions sickness meds with no results at all.

VaD is where the blood vessels are closing down in the brain, right? Doesn't it make sense that a blood vessel somewhere is causing this?

Please share with me any of your VaD experiences!! Thanks!
 

arielsmelody

Registered User
Jul 16, 2015
516
Are you 100% sure it's caused by the vascular dementia and not a problem with her ears? Has she seen her gp?
 

MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
Are you 100% sure it's caused by the vascular dementia and not a problem with her ears? Has she seen her gp?
She has no ear ache or infection. GP meaning General Practitioner? Meaning our family doctor? That's what we have Hospice for now. She does not leave this house anymore - barely can walk now. We saw her doctor back in October and he pretty much said good-bye to her, looking at me saying, "....if you need anything, just call...." Translation: go home with Hospice for the end of your life......:(
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,351
South coast
If her ears are OK, then I bet the problem is in the balance part of her brain (cerebellum). I wonder if she had a small stroke (TIA) in that area?
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
Honestly, that 'spinning' and feeling dizzy sounds very like the viral (middle?) ear infection OH and I both had. I forget the name but it was horrible - even turning over in bed would make everything spin, and we had to get up very slowly, or we'd feel we were going to fall over. I don't think it can be diagnosed from looking in your ears - I don't think there's any inflammation or discharge. It can take weeks to go away and there's no cure, but there is medication for the symptoms - Stemetil is what we had and it does help the symptoms. Might be worth a try.
PS - you don't have any earache with it - or at least we didn't - so an absence of earache would not mean she hasn't got this.
 
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canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,351
South coast
Yes, I think that was it. Horrible. GP told me some people have it so badly they can't even get out of bed. Thank goodness OH and I weren't quite that bad.
Yes it is horrible.
My FIL had this and the GP thought it was labyrinthitis, but later on an MRI showed a small stroke in the cerebellum.
If you get this sort of thing, its likely to be either an inner ear problem, or the cerebellum.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
1,991
Victoria, Australia
Dizziness and blurred vision can also be caused by low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure.

You can buy portable and easy to use blood pressure machines and whilst they are not going to be as accurate as the ones used by GP, they could give you an indication as to whether there is a problem or not.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
8,505
Yorkshire
Hi MILVascularDem
not sure if this is at all related
my dad had bleeds the area of the brain that affects vision - he lost the left side of vision in each eye - and he says a lot that his eyesight is blurry, rubs his eyes, partly closes his right eye, says his eyes 'aren't right'
he has Alzheimer's/Vascular dementia and Parkinson's
when he was able to walk out (he now doesn't leave the care home) he regularly said he was dizzy, but was displaying no signs of the effects of dizziness (no swaying for example), so I took it as his way of expressing that his sight and 'mind' just weren't right and he didn't feel comfortable
this went on for years, so not an infection in his case - no saying he felt sick either
 

CeliaThePoet

Registered User
Dec 7, 2013
614
Buffalo, NY, USA
My mother has had both of these symptoms for a few years. Many analyses have turned up little (MRI, dizziness assessment, eye exams, etc). Presbystasis is the term for unexplained but common dizziness in the elderly. Mom only has a diagnosis of MCI as no test has yet confirmed a vascular cause (though I suspect it).
 

Quilty

Registered User
Aug 28, 2014
1,051
GLASGOW
Mum has VD and has both blurred vision and dizziness. The specialist said it was reduced blood flow up the back of her neck due to narrowing of the arteries.

She had medication for years for it. When dementia kicked in it stopped working.
 

MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
Mum has VD and has both blurred vision and dizziness. The specialist said it was reduced blood flow up the back of her neck due to narrowing of the arteries.

She had medication for years for it. When dementia kicked in it stopped working.
I've kind of concluded that is what is happening. Afterall that is what Vascular Dementia is - dementia caused by the reduction of blood flow in the brain due to various reasons. In her case, TIA's. So, the little blood vessels in her brain are shutting down - closing - being damaged due to these TIA's, so things are happening. Like her mobility - which has steadily declined to where I'm practically carrying her to the bathroom now. Only three steps, stop/rest, three steps, wobbly/almost fall....etc. Then the blurriness started and now the constant dizzy. Her aunt, whom we think suffered the same thing years ago but there was not a name for it then, heard "popping" sounds all the time. We now think those were strokes.

The odd thing, is - the dementia part really isn't that bad. She's pretty cognitive most of the time. Can carry on a conversation pretty well most of the time. She may hear things or see things that are not there, but mostly pretty clear.

Now she has started suffering from some chest pains and her lips are numb all the time. Those are indications of more strokes and/or heart attach symptoms, I'm thinking? I am wondering if this is due to the VaD, too? I'm told with VaD, your brain just stops telling the body what to do and you literally forget how to swallow or.....even breath....
 

CeliaThePoet

Registered User
Dec 7, 2013
614
Buffalo, NY, USA
Quilty, do you remember what medication helped your mom with dizziness, when it did?

Mom has had dizziness for about 7 years; it seemed to rise with her dementia (which is not diagnosed as vascular, just MCI). My grandmother also had dizziness and dementia. It has been particularly disabling the last week or two, and I don't know what to do or tell her. We saw a world-renowned dizziness specialist two years ago, who felt it was probably anxiety (I doubt this), but since Mom would not willingly do the many, many tests they wanted to conduct, we stopped there.

She just called, begging me to do something about it (on a Friday afternoon with a snowstorm starting). She doesn't remember all the things we have tried, which did not help. Feeling low about it.
 

Quilty

Registered User
Aug 28, 2014
1,051
GLASGOW
Im sorry i cant remember what they were called. She went to hospital unable to stand up and after 3 pills was back to normal. It was like a miracle. So sorry i cant remeber what tgey are called. I will keep thinking. Its in there somewhere.