Fainting - is this due to the condition?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Jann, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Jann

    Jann Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    39
    tingewick, bucks.
    Sorry I haven't been on for what seems like a long time but I received an email from my father this morning - see below.

    "Mum had a fainting event this morning. She was in bed about 8.00am, got up suddenly and went to the door outside, opened it but within moments she passed out on the rug for about 10 to 20 sec. Remember she did this before one evening and we went to accident and emergency when the Doc said she was then OK.

    This time I helped her into bed and she was distinctly mixed up and confused. Indeed I thought she might faint again. However, after about 30 mins she improved, had some breakfast and we washed her hair. She was OK to go to the hairdresser which passed off OK. On returning home she had a period of vagueness but is now OK but very nervous."


    Could fainting be yet another affect of this awful condition?
    Or is it something totall unrelated?
    I'd be very grateful for any feedback you may have on this.

    I've suggested to Dad that as it has happened before, he should maybe press the doc for a possible cause and even obtain a referral to a specialist.

    On another point, mUm has regular panic attacks since she was diagnosed with AD. Would you also say that this is another side affect?

    Many, many thanks,
    Jan
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    Getting up suddenly and fainting sounds like a classic example of the effects of a drop in blood pressure. Has your mother had any issues with her BP in the past?

    Jennifer

    P.S. I wouldn't place any reliance on what the doctore at the A & E said - they sent my mother home when she'd had a stroke after giving her paracetemol!
     
  3. Jann

    Jann Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    39
    tingewick, bucks.
    Thanks for your swift reply, Jennifer.

    In answer to your question, no, she hasn't had any history of blood pressure.
    So sorry to hear the doctor sent your mother away with paracetamol. It really is such a worry with some of the medical profession but I believe Mum and Dad's GP is a good one - let's hope so.

    The other problem is that my Dad has always been unwilling to 'create waves', as he puts it. He's always been the kind of man who is too polite - even if, for example, food served in a restaurant isn't up to scratch, he won't make any complaint.

    My sister and I on the other hand, will stand up, politely but assertively, if things aren't good or in this case, clearly explained and diagnosed. Unfortunate then that we live so far away from them and the main problem is the Irish Sea between us and them.

    Thanks once again. I shall ensure Mum is fully checked out.
    Jan
     
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    The problem with low blood pressure is that, by the time you get to the doctors office there may be no problem. Many people suffer from what is called "white coat hypertension" where the stress of going to see the doctor causes the BP to rise. Obviously, if your Mum's BP was low to start with and that happened, she'd just look normal when they took the reading. Have you considered getting your parents a home BP cuff - they do ones that wrap around the wrist, and have a digital readout? It's going to be a problem if your father isn't willing to assert himself - the squeaky wheel etc., because while there are tests for this, there is a tendency for GP's not to refer dementia patients for anything other than the dementia. However, this fainting is dangerous - what if she'd hit her head? Perhaps you can "scare" your father like that. Incidentally, low (and high) BP problems can cause an altered mental state (think light headed) so it wouldn't be surprising if she was somewhat changed after the event, quite apart from the shock (well I'd be shocked if I suddenly fell over). Is she on any medications?

    Jennfer
     
  5. Jann

    Jann Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    39
    tingewick, bucks.
    Hi again Jennifer and thanks once more for your suggestions and advice.

    The BP cuff sounds like a good idea.

    My mum used to be a nurse for many years so I don't think she'd be anxious at visting the GP and he has been hers for a good few years.

    She is on Ebixa and also an asthma inhaler (allergy to cats) which she didn't use very much but has it increased in useage more recently.

    I will also 'scare' Dad when I speak to him this evening though I'm sure he's pretty scared by it all already. Thanks for your much appreciated input.
    Jan
     
  6. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    #6 daughter, Jul 6, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
    This is one of the problems, isn't it, trying to determine if something is due to AD or to another condition. Jennifer makes a good point about the problem of low blood pressure. A friend of mine's daughter had gone to their doctor after fainting. The doctor said that she suffers from the same condition as her mother (my friend) - and that is low blood pressure. This was the first time my friend had realised she had it!

    Having said that there have been others discussions on TP about fainting and AD but sorry if this adds to the confusion because I'm not sure if it's the same as your Mum experienced:

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/TalkingPoint/Discuss/showthread.php?t=1089&highlight=faint

    Good luck Jann and let us know how you get on persuading your Dad to make a few waves (my Mum is just the same! :rolleyes: ;) )
     
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    You know the asthma might be the problem here. My DS, who has major allergies occasionally has an asthma flareup (he'll go several years without problems, and then he'll get a respiratory infection and boom! no oxygen). Just last week, I took him to the doctor, where it turned out he had pneumonia (in the summer!), his O2 stats were at 90 (Yikes) and his blood pressure was down as well. He normally has BP on the high side. Steroids (oral and inhaled) plus antibiotics got him better, but it's something to consider. Unfortunately, one of the known side effects of Ebixa is asthma, so you're caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Jennifer
     
  8. Linda Mc

    Linda Mc Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    1,881
    Nr Mold
    There was an interesting post about this subject before I think it was called faints I know Katie contributed to it perhaps the moderators can find it for you.

    Linda
     
  9. Linda Mc

    Linda Mc Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    1,881
    Nr Mold
    Jann found the thread for you and nudged it up.

    Linda
     
  10. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    558
    Stow-on-the-Wold
    Mary had a similar though more prolonged incidence similar to the one you described and was taken into hospital. After a week of investigations including a 24 hour heart monitoring (this involve attaching 4 sticky pads to the chest connected to a cassette recorder) she was found to be suffering from arrhythmia which is a temporary pause in the heart beating. This was not thought to be life threatning and we were assured that should this happen again further investigations would be carried out. Since that first occurrence she has had a further three lesser occurences and has had another 24 hour heart monitoring which confimed the original diagnosis. I was assured by the cardiologist that the duration of the stoppages was not significant and that if he thought it necessary he would fit a pacemaker as it is probably the most cost effective treatment available.

    I was happy with his advice and subsequent episodes have proved to be of little account. I know that the first episode is frightnening as Mary's heart stopped beating for approximately 20 seconds (it felt like 20 minutes) but I have learnt that these episodes are not to be feared.

    My experiences are similar to yours in that Mary recovers within a few minutes and is normal within 30 minutes. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that your mum has the same condition but since it is a short lived episode and seems to be similar to that experienced by Mary it may be worth asking your doctor to consider the possibility and carry out a 24 hour heart monitoring.

    Dick
     
  11. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Jan had the same fainting problems [most usually around breakfast time] but when they fitted the ambulatory heart monitor to her at hospital and we were about to leave for home, she fainted while at the hospital. Panic stations for the staff as they saw her heart had stopped and panicked, but then released her after an overnight stay. A consultant at first suggested a pacemaker - without even examining her - but exhaustive tests showed there was no arrhythmia and it was many years later put down to mini strokes associated with vascular dementia.

    I guess we just all have to keep open minds to the range of possibilities.
     
  12. Jazzy

    Jazzy Registered User

    Jun 3, 2006
    34
    Derbyshire
    I've just logged on and saw this thread. Half an hour ago I had a call from the hospital where Mum is being assessed to say that she'd been walking along the corridor and then just fell for whatever reason. It sounds so very much like the fainting you describe, Jan. On top of that she hit her head, passed out momentarily and has broken her glasses and now faces a trip to a hospital the other side town for x rays etc. And in this awful heat. I'm beginning to see a pattern now, though. She' had intermittent dizzy spells for about 2 years now. I wonder if there is a link to how she is. Her GP thought it was arthritis in the back of her neck. There seems now end to what this disease can do.
    Jazzy
     
  13. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    And this would cause you to faint because...?!?
     
  14. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    Arthritis in the neck does cause one to go faint or have visual disturbance because of the narrowed nerve exits caused by the arthritic changes to the facets of the vertebrae

    However when AD is vascular in nature fainting /vague /dizzy episodes are also very very likely
     
  15. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    O.K. that makes sense - thanks Helena!
     
  16. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    When my mother "fainted" we didn't know whether she'd done it on purpose, so many of her symptoms seemed put on, and doctors said "nothing wrong" ...
     
  17. Jann

    Jann Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    39
    tingewick, bucks.
    Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for your replies - what a great bunch you all are - it's really appreciated!

    Dad took Mum to the GP yesterday and he checked BP and all else. He said he didn't think it was anything to worry about and felt it was caused by Mum gettiing out of bed too quickly after having been lying down in bed all night. I know we've all probably experienced suddenly getting up too quickly and all goes black momentarily (I have on occasion) but to actually pass out isn't what I'd call normal is it?

    Jennifer - How worrying to hear that Ebixa's known side-effects is asthma.
    I mentioned this to Dad last night and he told me she'd been put on Ebixa specifically because it was safer with Mum having asthma, than Aricept and some others he named. I did a quick check on the search engines but couldn't find a link that stated this. I'll do a more thorough search though and see what comes up.
    I told Dad about the BP monitor and he says he already has one in the house. I've suggested he use it if Mum passes out again. Let's hope he does.

    Jazzy - I'm so sorry to hear your Mum fell and hurt herself and hope she's now recovering well. It just makes me think what could possibly happen to my own mother if she were to have another fainting episode. Thinking of you both.

    Dick - the 24 hour heart monitoring may also be a good option to look into. I shall tell my Dad and hope he investigates this possibility further - I'll push him - gently.

    Bruce - I was aware that fainting may be related to vascular dementia but didn't give it a second thought as Mum wasn't diagnosed with this form. Could they have been wrong with the original diagnosis? This is only the second time (first time in March this year), that she has passed out briefly and I had assumed mini strokes/fainting with VD was much more frequent?

    Lila - Do you really think your mum was doing it on purpose? Mind you, when my sister and I were with Mum two weeks ago during an extended family gathering and she had one of her panic attacks, my sister did suggest maybe she had exaggerated it as her way of getting out of having to be amongst too many people.

    Will be back soon after I have done my work but thank you for your contributions.
    Jan
     
  18. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    Jann, I found that on a canadian site http://www.rxcarecanada.com/Ebixa.asp?prodid=2302. It doesn't look too common though, and I suspect that with all these medicines there's some level of trade off. Asthma is such a pain to deal with, and I'm not sure what options are available in the UK for treatment. Does your mother take anything for the underlying allergy? Although, having said that, I believe you said it was to cats, and that seems very intransigent when it comes to treatment. My DH is so highly allergic that in the past, when we visited my Mother and she had a cat, we couldn't actually stay at the house - 2 hours max and he was wheezing like a steam train. That was with high levels on antihistamine in his system. Anyway, good luck.

    Jennifer
     
  19. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Probably most of my mother's physical symptoms including faints were the result of longterm malnutrition and dehydration. In the end, there was nothing anyone could do to persuade her to eat and drink enough to stay alive.

    It is very difficult to tell exactly what anyone does on purpose. No-one ever saw her faint and she didn't hurt herself when she fell.

    Lila
     

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