1. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Is fainting a recognised symptom of AD?
    Brucie is the only one who has ever mentioned it, which I am a bit surprised about, since that was the catalyst that made me seek medical advice for my husband.
    Apart from memory and cognitive problems, which we thought might be personality- and age-related (he was approaching his late sixties then, and had always been a bit of an absent-minded professor), he began experiencing sporadic faints, or passing out, never for long, but they were jolly scary to witness! Sometimes he did not quite pass out, but would appear to hold his breath and turn ashen for a few seconds. He always explained it that he felt as though a bucket of cold water had been thrown over him, but the sensation of cold water would rise upwards rather than from his head down .... On one occasion this happened during a consultation with a locum, but nobody ever found an explanation for it, his blood pressure was fine, etc. One female GP dismissed our concerns with a simple explanation: "There's nothing to worry about, you are just badly put together!". (I would have to be absolutely desparate to ever accept an appointment with her again).
    It was many months later when my husband was referred to the local hospital for a brain scan, and then to the department of care for the elderly, where he had a memory test and was prescribed Aricept.
    My husband has not passed out for a long time, but he has deteriorated a great deal since those days. I just wonder whether the faints should, perhaps, have given the medics a bit of a clue?
    Does anyone else have any similar experiences?
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi Carmen, not exactly the same, but my Mum had lots of "mini strokes" they called them TIA's. She went very quiet,sat very still, fixed and staring. These lasted anything from less than a minute to about ten minutes or so. Then she would come out of it again. She could never explain it though as she was already quite a way into dementia when we saw her have one but looking back I think she had several when she lived alone. Obviously I don't know if this is what you see with your Dad, but I thought it might help if you knew about this. Apparently these TIA's can happen with Vascular dementia. We do have various fact sheets. If you press the button for them and check them out you may find some info there to help. Love She. XX
  3. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    Hello Carmen

    Dad used to have "funny turns" long before we noticed an memory problems creeping in. He would go grey and sit motionless while they passed. He had lots of tests for heart problems (which at the time never showed anything) but we never had an explanantion. It was his heart that finally gave up about 15 years later.

    Aunt had several episodes which where described as TIA,s but these seemed to last much longer and the after effects were noticable - each one marked a serious deterioration.

  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Carmen

    your description matches pretty nearly exactly what Jan suffered.

    These episodes were really like true faints, though over the years the medics have tried to call them fits or TIAs. I still believe they were faints.

    For Jan they happened over the course of a few years very regularly, and latterly almost always when she was sleeping. One night she had more than 5. They could be so drastic that I thought I had lost her on a couple of occasions. I still sleep incredibly lightly as I trained myself to recognise her faints while sleeping. She just seemed to slump in the bed, and breathing stopped. She had one at the home recently and they too thought she had gone. I no longer hate myself for wishing that were so.

    I really don't believe these were either fits or mini strokes, as they had all the symptoms of normal faints - if faints can be normal in this context. These were not instances of her sitting and just staring, etc. She would feel that rushing sensation, rising up through her body, then she would keel over. As we experienced this more, I trained her to dive for the floor as soon as she felt the initial feeling. This often stopped the faint, and certainly stopped her falling against things.

    One faint happened in hospital when she had just had an ambulatory heart monitor fitted. Unfortunately the monitor registered absolutely nothing for the time she was experiencing the faint./ Rather than thinking 'this must tell us something important', the hospital simply wrote it off as a malfunction.

    Often doctors are so bound up in their perceptions of what is going on that they don't look at the patient. The guys don't listen enough, though I accept that it is much nicer to be able to work within one's comfort zone, than to try and understand things that don't fit their mindset.

    Initially the faints always seemed to happen around breakfast time.

    When Jan first told me they were happening - she was worried because she was falling against things when I was at work - little did I know [thankfully] that it would in a short time destroy all our hopes and dreams.
  5. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Thank you so much for all your replies!
    They don't change our situation, but at least I feel that I wasn't overreacting and imagining things.
    Brucie: Tony's very first faint (as far as I know) did happen at breakfast-time - fully rested, relaxed, enjoying a normal, wholesome meal; next thing, he was slumped on the chair next to me, from which he slid to the floor. For an instant I thought he was larking about, before the alarm bells rang. But within moments he had regained consciousness and his composure, and told me not to fuss. On some occasions he was not even aware of what had happened when he 'came round', other times he anticipated and (as you describe), knelt or sat on the floor to avoid a fall.
    I realised that he doctors may not have been able to do anything to prevent these faints, but it is frustrating that they implied we were just wasting their time!

    It's water under the bridge now, but perhaps these words may give someone else the courage to be more aware and pushy ...
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Dear Carmen this is very similar to what my Mum did, guess there are lots of fancy names and explanations but it basically boils down to losing consciousness/awareness for a bit and all the problems this can cause. A case of trying to be vigilante but also always aware that it could happen anytime so you can only do your best to keep them safe I fear. Love She. XX
  7. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear All

    I find this all extremely interesting. You have all had similar experiences and it reminded me that some years prior to the diagnosis of AD, Mum kept falling down. That's the only way I can describe it. She didn't express any feelings of faintness, just down she went.

    Fortunately she was always with somebody, but all of sudden she would just fall to the floor - out shopping, invariably. I have never given it much thought in relation to dementia - Like Bruce's, her GP was pretty dismissive at the time; could have been low blood pressure, middle ear, etc., and as far as I remember nothing definitive was done to test for anything. Then it stopped happening. I now wonder if she was experiencing mini strokes.

  8. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi all, seems a lot of us have witnessed this kind of thing then. But how do we get it noted if the powers that be just dismiss it. I know for a fact that my Mum was always quite hyper for a while before she had one and then very subdued and less able after. It formed a pattern. Love She. XX
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    yes, there is definitely a pattern to these events.

    I am absolutely certain that Jan's faints - and I'm not going to call them fits because they weren't, even though the medics found comfort in trying to position them that way - were an integral part of the early development of her dementia.

    In my mind, I visualised that each time she went down - and there were scores of times she did that - her brain was impacted. That is, some parts were damaged and never recovered.

    I always have it in my mind that, had someone listened to me, and we had been able to stop the faints, she may never have lost enough to go down the route to dementia in the first place.

    I'm probably wrong in that belief, but I was furious that they never took notice of what I was saying and, in retrospect, I know that I knew far more of her condition that any of them ever did. I just couldn't prescribe the medication, or get the cheques from BUPA for the diagnosis, or lack thereof.:mad:
  10. Chris

    Chris Registered User

    May 20, 2003
    Faints and AD or VD

    Are faints linked to later diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or any of the vasacular dementias or other types of dementia or maybe all of them ?

    If we feel this needs some research then we need to ask QRD (the Alzheimer's Society's research arm) for their view on this inthis a priority we need to inform all members of the QRD Network of this - possibly through their Newsletter.

    Every year the QRD Network - made up of people with dementia and carers decide on subjects for research (within 3 areas - dementia care, cure and cause) and then place them in priority order. Researchers submit applications, these are commented on & decided on by the Network , then funding is allocated / found. The Network assist in monitoring etc etc

    There are about 150 QRD Network members in the UK.

    see the Research area of main AS site for more details. Oh! so much to do - no pressure - this is just for those with time - like me now . Mainly i wanted you to know there are lots of people out there who are working really hard to make things better - its a slow process but lots of amazing steps have been taken - there is hope for future generations and for improved care now to help all of you. BW Chris
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi all, fact sheet 402 does mention this, it is quite informative. Love She. XX
  12. Linda Mc

    Linda Mc Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    Nr Mold
    Nudging this one up

  13. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    My Mum has had fainting episodes long before she had any other problems. She has fainted at fairly regular intervals for the last few years. The fainting or just feeling generally unwell has also been associated with sickness and/or nausea.
    It is interesting that since being in the NH, since last November, she has not complained of feeling sick at all. I wonder if the monitoring of drugs and the careful control of diet has anything to do with it?
    Usually, after a faint or bout of sickness, Mum has got worse and has lost memory or skills. Several times in the NH she has stopped feeding herself and staff have helped her. Her mental state does not seem as bad as some mentioned on TP but her physical disabilities due to rheumatoid arthritis are a real problem.
  14. aalison

    aalison Registered User

    Apr 28, 2012
    could anyone's fainting be described as slumping?

    Just found out from an OT this week that Mum's unexplained episodes of slumping to the ground over the years would be explained by bleeds on the brain. Whereas the falling over is from balance & weakness problems which I guess is related to the vascular dementia.
  15. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    Not sure if you noticed Aalison but the previous posts on this thread were from 2006. x
  16. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    Aalison - some of the symptoms described in these old posts describe what sometimes happens to my mam, and she was diagnosed with narcolepsy. Not too sure if the diagnosis is correct, as I've always wondered if it could be mini strokes or something else, but the medication she was prescribed for narcolepsy does seem to have helped.
  17. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Jan's faints happened in two ways:

    1) generally in the morning around breakfast time, when she would feel it coming on and we learned to have her get to the floor as soon as she could, before a full faint/fit/whatever took her down. These were actually our first indications that things bad were happening to her. The doctors and consultants didn't have a clue.

    2) in bed at night when she was sleeping, I would feel her body slump as she lay next to me. These were the scariest faints, and at least twice I feared she had passed away.

    Though she had mixed dementia - Alzheimer's and vascular - she never fell without the feeling 'of something rising' within her, except once when her spatial awareness - or a cobbled street - caused her to trip and fall badly.
  18. qubecks

    qubecks Registered User

    Jun 28, 2012
    hi x its all fitting like a jigsaw to me now i am reading these posts ! mum has just fell to the floor , for no reason ? the latest time mum did this was last week , she was in the sittg room, me upstairs getting ready to go out , and i heard a thud , and mum was on the last two steps of the stairs ? she said she didnt know what had happened /
  19. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Izzy, it seems like only yesterday ....... :(
  20. chrisuz

    chrisuz Registered User

    May 29, 2012
    East Yorkshire
    Chris, as yet not formally diagnosed has also had bouts of fainting-like episodes. He has a few in a cluster then none for a while. We have been told middle ear problems, and also been told it's because he is tall, 6' 2'' but I didn't think it might be connected to dementia. The last one was yesterday, so I will add it to my list of concerns I am taking when we see the neurologist in August.

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