Information on Others Diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Finding It's Not the Problem

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by aks0616, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. aks0616

    aks0616 Registered User

    Dec 21, 2007
    2
    I help take care of my mother-in-law who is 62 years old. She has been diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimers. She is very obese, has an unhealthy diet, doesn't drink much water and is taking several medications including one statin drug for cholesterol, 3 blood pressure medications, 2 dementia drugs, an anti-depressant, an asthma medication and a few other drugs that she has to take because of side effects from her other medications. I do not believe that she has dementia/alzheimers and that we have other options than what her doctors tell us - "keep her on the drugs and look for an assisted living home for her". I have read in several places that dehydration, over-medication, depression and high-levels of toxicity from heavy metals can cause dementia like symptoms and I believe this to be true. I've also heard that statin drugs can cause memory problems in people. I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this or knows someone in the same situation so I can talk to our family about other options or things we can do without drugs to help her state improve. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    Hi aks0616 and welcome to Talking Point.

    You're in a very difficult situation. I can see your point that the cocktail of drugs your MIL may well be impacting her mental state (it would be hard to imagine they weren't). Unfortunately, though its not as if any of them can just be stopped, and a fair number of them probably couldn't even be reduced. Hypertension and asthma can be killers if they're not properly medicated. Is there just one doctor responsible for prescribing all these meds? I am not familiar with the idea of statins causing memory problems - my mother had to come off them because of muscle pain which is a known side effect.

    Can I ask - Is there some specific reason you believe that the drugs may be to blame? As someone who has hypertension I would think your MIL is a prime candidate for vascular dementia.
     
  3. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    7,788
    East Midlands
    Hello! Statins do not cause memory problems in my experience.
    Dehydration does and it may be the medication for lowering blood pressure is not helping. Does your MIL take a water tablet? If so
    GP should be monitoring her kidneys via a blood test(U&E's)as these can cause dehydration-maybe she doesn't drink a lot because it makes her want to wee-get to the loo-she's obese-it's a struggle..
    Also if she's on a statin she should have her liver function checked annually(LFT)
    She is very young to be on such a cocktail of medication.
    However- my first inkling is for one of the family to contact the GP and check that bloods have been done recently-what the results were-how the medication is suiting her. You may have to push for this, sadly-but they can't refuse.
    I agree vascular dementia is a possibility-I would push for more info from GP and definitely ask for referral if not happy.
    Although assisted living does sound like a feasible option-nothing will change that quickly and you may want to assess how self caring she is now and look into options-but it sounds like she needs a thorough review by a specialist. Hope this is of some help. Love Gigi x
     
  4. cariad

    cariad Registered User

    Sep 29, 2007
    89
    Hi, It's good that you are questioning the diagnosis but bear in mind that disbelief is a common reaction to such a diagnosis. Who diagnosed your MIL? Was it someone specialised in dementia or the GP? Has she had a full blood sreen? This would show up any toxicity (my mam was tested for copper etc). If she drinks hot drinks, she is unlikely to be dehydrated as the body adapts to not having water if tea/ coffee is only source of liquid. Depression can cause forgetfulness but there are differences between dementia and depression. Has you MIL had Ct and MRI scans? Lots of questions! If your MIL has been fully assessed by experienced medical professionals then the diagnosis could well be correct. I too looked for other possible causes (b12 deficiency etc). It's a good trait to question what you are told but sometimes the diagnosis is right.
    Regards, Berni
     
  5. cariad

    cariad Registered User

    Sep 29, 2007
    89
  6. aks0616

    aks0616 Registered User

    Dec 21, 2007
    2
    Very good feedback, thanks to all for your input. First, I guess I am concerned because being obese causes toxins to build up in your system. And the fact that she doesn't drink hardly any water at all, how do the drugs leave her system? I would think they would continue to build up and compound the memory problems, if they are what is causing the issue. The memory problems seemed to increase a lot over the past 3 months, once they added the statin, the 3 blood pressure medications, the Namenda and the Aricept. I have read a lot about statins and how they cause memory problems and this was my first concern. I just feel that if we help her lose weight, she should be able to stop taking the statin drugs and the blood pressure medication. Possibly also the antidepressants if she is well enough. Plus, if her dementia is caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, losing weight could help this as well. She is on a diuretic because the statin drug causes her to retain water...I would think that would make her even more dehydrated. She has had an MRI/CT and they didn't see much, just some shrinkage which the doctor said was normal for all people as they age. They said that they think her problem is partly Alzheimers and partly caused by some emotional/physical distress that she has suffered. We brought up the fact that she is unhealthy, doesn't drink much water, doesn't exercise, and is on so many medications and they did not feel the need to work with her on any of these or for her to lose any weight. I just feel that before you give up and put someone in a home, you should explore all areas that could possibly be contributing to the issues, and would like to find others who have had similar experiences. I am having a baby in a month and it is her first granddaughter so I really want her to be around to get to know her and at the rate we're going, it doesn't look promising.
     
  7. eiggam

    eiggam Registered User

    Jan 5, 2007
    45
    Hi Ask616,

    You are asking good questions, I would make a list of these excellent questions, then, make an appointment with the Dr He should be able to answer your queries, He should give you peace of mind about all of your concerns. Try and take a small tape recorder with you, I have found most Dr. Allow this, as there is so much to absorb.

    Ask for blood work, and a urine test, then ask to see the previous blood test from 6 months ago, to compare all levels, then the Dr should know more on what is going on internally.

    Now, in this age of technology, we have lost the ability to Care for our own. I was sure I could handle my Mum at home, but...with much regret, I could not cope
    I too have wondered, why the need for so many different drugs for elderly people. My Mum is from the generation where you never took a pill, just work off what is ailing you, was Her motto.

    Now, in this age of technology, we have lost the ability to Care for our own.
    Alzheimer’s is a 24 hour disease, one person cannot do it.

    I would look to the Dr’s for most of your answer’s, then relate back here. There is a lot of wisdom here, from past experience. As you well know, each and every one develops illnesses differently. Our life styles vary, our environment differ’s so please seek professional help first. Then you have to trust your gut instincts, and no-one can do that for you.
    Love Maggie.
     
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,567
    Kent
    Hello Ask616,

    I understand how desperate you are to improve the health of your mother-in-law. I`m sure you don`t need me to point out that all her symptoms are part of a whole viscious circle.

    My husband has Alzheimers. He is diabetic. He is depressed. He takes a cocktail of drugs daily. I would not know where to start to reduce his intake of drugs.

    In addition to that, his once well controlled diabetes has now become poorly controlled, as he forgets when and what he has eaten and is now slowly gaining weight. He is far from obese, weighing 11st 7lbs, height 5`4", but gets extreme hunger that needs immediate gratification and he will grab a banana even whilst I am dishing out dinner.

    I care for him 24/7 but cannot lock food away, cannot insist he takes his medication when he hides it and throws it away and cannot control him. He used to drink at least 6 glasses of water daily, now he forgets. If I make him a drink, he either forgets to drink it or throws it away when I`m not looking if he doesn`t want it.
    I have seen him go to the toilet, or into the bathroom, with a cup in his hand, and know he is going to throw his drink way. He only throws it down the kitchen sink if I`m not there.

    I am giving you this detail feeling sure you will be able to relate to it. I wish you well in your endeavours to get help for your MIL and would be grateful for an update.

    Take care xx
     
  9. SusanR

    SusanR Registered User

    Apr 29, 2007
    19
    WisconsinUSA
    The Namenda could be the problem. We tried it twice and my husband's memory and confusion worsened immediately. Some cannot tolerate it. Just a thought.

    Susan
     
  10. elaineo2

    elaineo2 Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    945
    leigh lancashire
    Hi,my advice is a medication review.sounds like its abit much.luv elaine
     

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