Is it Vascular dementia or is it Type 2 diabetes?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Rosalind297, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    60
    Mum is 92 and was diagnosed with vascular dementia 12 years ago. It has been a gentle, slow decline although getting noticeably worse over the past two years. Earlier this Spring we thought she had plateaued, as PWVD do, but she has taken quite a sharp turn very recently.

    She is 5 feet nothing and just over 7 stones. She also has dry macular degeneration. She had her annual MOT at the surgery a month ago, including blood tests. My brother and I were called in to see the doctor and he said she was remarkably healthy except that she had just teetered over into Type 2 diabetes (threshold is 48 and she tested 51). He said that he didn’t want to give her tablets and we must control it by diet. I explained what she ate, which in the main is very well balanced and not big portions and he said “just keep an eye on it”. When pressed for alterations to her diet he just repeated “just keep an eye on it” which we didn’t find particularly helpful. My brother thinks the doctor has pretty much given up on her as he isn’t very proactive in offering advice on any aspect of her condition.

    Anyway, over the past month she has got more tired and her eyes/vision seems to be worse. She says her head doesn’t feel right and her mood is much lower. We don’t know if this is the diabetes (she could have had that for a year - we don’t know or it could be getting worse as her lifestyle and diet remain the same) or just the dementia getting worse or the diabetes causing the dementia to get worse.

    Over the past two years she has developed a sweet tooth as is common in dementia but we try to limit the chocolate and cake although she won’t drink tea without a spoonful of sugar - unheard of since rationing began in WW2!

    Has anyone else experience of their PWD developing T2 diabetes and if so, what steps did you take to control it? Does what I have outlined sound typical? Thanks in advance for any clarity - I seem to get far more useful information from this forum than anywhere else bar none.
     
  2. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    5,822
    Male
    Bristol
    My OH has type 2 diabetes which she had before her vascular dementia diagnosis. She is also at the 51 mark on the HBA1C test, but the doctor put her on Alogliptin at my request as she had to come off the Glicazide. She sleeps a lot, but is on pain patches which on top of the dementia probably complicate our problems.
    Diabetes UKhttps://www.diabetes.org.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2fSXh4S-4wIVyLTtCh3Cww_0EAAYASAAEgJn2PD_BwE have leaflets giving the guidelines on what is safe to eat, though trying to stick to it is hard work especially when dementia and denial are involved. I was certainly told to keep sugar levels in cereals below 20g per 100g, fats below 5g per 100g and saturated fats below 1.5g per 100g. I rarely achieve it, but having one meal a day and light snack in the evening while aiming around these levels most days has brought C's weight and sugar levels to a manageable level. She has a small slice of cake or a small choc ice most days, it is easier than fighting.
    I hope that helps.
     
  3. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    60

    Thank you and yes that is very helpful. I shall read the leaflet and try to implement but it will be quite difficult as she gets up very early and will often sneak cake or pot desserts like chocolate mousse from the fridge. We shall have to stop buying those things obviously. We will have to try to swap the cake at teatime for a sandwich. The problem will be substituting her breakfast cereal as she loves tropical fruits granola which is very high in sugar. Other than her main meal, which is at lunchtime, she won’t eat anything that doesn’t taste sweet, even spitting out things like unsweetened strawberries, so we have a battle on our hands.

    I’m interested that your wife is at the same level as Mum yet has medication. I may discuss it with her doctor. She only takes one tablet a day which is thyroxine, which she takes with no problem, so it wouldn’t be onerous for her to have another. I understand that controlling the condition with diet is optimum but that only works if the PWD complies.

    Thankfully there is no pain involved just more tiredness and lower mood. I just worry that if it goes uncontrolled what damage it can do and with dementia in the mix, it isn’t always possible for Mum to explain how she’s feeling, what hurts etc.
     
  4. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    2,913
    Nottinghamshire
    Hi @Rosalind297

    My mum had type 2 diabetes and dementia and it was a bit of the nightmare. I notice your mum has sugar in her tea. Would she accept a sweetener instead? If she’s having a few cups a day this could make quite a difference and she might not notice...
     
  5. witts1973

    witts1973 Registered User

    Jun 20, 2018
    674
    Male
    Leamington Spa
    #5 witts1973, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    I found out I that I have T2 probabaly not much more than 2 months ago,I changed my diet in a drastic fashion and after embarking on a new regime my eyes could be a bit cloudy but have settled down now,it is known to do so with changes in blood sugar level even when your blood glucose count is improving like mine but your mums eyes may have nothing to do with the diabetes,plenty of vegetables would be advised and she would be better having porridge in the morning as it delivers a smaller spike as it releases sugars slower,your best limiting the super sugar laden things that are treats but Aldi do a dark chocolate bar that comes in a cardboard sleeve that is 85% cocoa called Mosen Roth it is very low carb and you get 5 individual foil wrapped pieces in the bar and that makes a nice treat I had some today.
    At your mums age she wouldn't want to make big changes but I'm not a doctor and these are only my opinions
    Speaking for myself I found eating the sweet stuff made me want to eat more sweet stuff and since stopping the sugary stuff I have little desire for it now
     
  6. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    60
    Thanks for the tips. I had thought about porridge, especially as her teeth aren’t great, but I know she wouldn’t eat it unsweetened. I myself can’t eat it without a spoonful of brown sugar so I’ll have to research alternatives that would sweeten it.

    I’ll check out the chocolate as she is a bit of a chocoholic!
     
  7. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    60

    I’ll try a sweetener. Back in the day they used to have a horrid aftertaste but hopefully they have been improved since the 70s.

    I notice the Diabetes website advises to avoid anything labelled “diabetic “ or”suitable for diabetics” so much research is needed.

    Thank you.
     
  8. witts1973

    witts1973 Registered User

    Jun 20, 2018
    674
    Male
    Leamington Spa
    #8 witts1973, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    I have a bag of frozen fruits in the freezer from Aldi called Four seasons fruit mix it contains strawberries,raspberries,blackberries and blackcurrants it's handy as they don't go off like fruits kept in the fridge and berries are known as a healthier choice for diabetics,I get mine out in the morning and pour some water over them in a bowl to thaw them then drain after 10 mins.
    Also if your mum isn't allergic to peanuts a decent peanut butter is well regarded as a snack on a wholemeal slice of toast or high wheat cracker,buy the good stuff though,Aldi have one that's 100% peanut butter and it was a good price,I don't work for Aldi by the way :)
     
  9. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    2,913
    Nottinghamshire
    #9 Bunpoots, Jul 18, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2019

    They do taste better but adding a pinch of sugar helps if she doesn’t like the taste.
     

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