Does a stroke make Alzheimer's worse?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by snooky, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. snooky

    snooky Registered User

    May 12, 2007
    104
    devon
    Hi all,

    I haven't posted on this site for sometime, but know what excellent advice is given out, so here goes......

    My dad who is 74 and suffers from AD was in a care home for 18 months, unfortunately suffered a minor stroke 3 wks ago, which was followed by pneumonia, then epileptic seizures of a serious life-threatening nature. Very, very worrying time for us all.

    He is still in hospital, but they say he now needs nursing care, so we have been frantically looking for somewhere and luckily found an excellent nursing home in our home town, which it looks like he will be coming to this week hopefully.

    Anyway, my question is will this minor stroke affect his AD in a big way, because he seems to have changed hugely and I know he has been through so much, but I am really worried as to what they future may or may not bring...... He hasn't walked since being in the hospital and is still on liquidised foods. I know no-one has a crystal ball, but I wondered if anyone had any experience and can maybe give my some thoughts.

    Thanks.

    Snooky
     
  2. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    #2 Nebiroth, Jul 17, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
    Vascular Dementia, which has symptoms like Alzheimer's, is caused by a series of mini-strokes - they can be so minor that the person may not even be aware of them. More serious strokes like your father's are of course immediately obvious and recognisable but have the same potential to lead to damage of the brain.

    Vascular Dementia is notable by it's long stable periods with sudden declines after which they may or may not be a partial recovery. The effect is cumulative. This is the opposite to Alzheimer's which produces a slow and gradual decline (the rate varying from person to person).

    Naturally, having Alzheimer's does not preclude Vascular, nor vice versa: a combination is known as "mixed dementia".

    It is also the case that people with Alzheimer's have less recuperative capacity to start with, and it's symptoms can be made worse by any other illnesses, especially an infection.

    It is also quite likely that a change in environment, such as your father's move to hospital, can be very unsettling and cause confusion because people with dementia cope very badly with any change in routine or place.

    My father had Alzheimers for some years but suffered an extreme and sudden decline last year, which happened in virtually the blink of an eye. Sadly he had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital which specialised in dementias because the changes were so extreme (he suddenly was unab;e to recognise his home, my mother or myself), although in his case they were mental rather than physical.

    Unfortunately, he had a fall whilst in hospital causing a broken hip, which was repaired surgically, but there were complications which lead to a massive heart attack and he died shortly after that; however, this was not related to the stroke.
     
  3. snooky

    snooky Registered User

    May 12, 2007
    104
    devon
    Thanks for your reply and information. I am very sorry to hear about your father and it must have been very upsetting to see such a sudden, drastic change. My sympathies go out to you.

    I think we will have to wait and see how things go with Dad. I thought a few more posters would have had some experience of this type of thing, but maybe not.

    Thanks again

    Snooky
     

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