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memory loss due to low blood pressure?

jemima

Registered User
Mar 19, 2006
5
UK
My father has been showing signs of short-term memory loss, but has apparently done well on the detailed memory tests at the hospital and has been told it is due to low blood pressure. I can only find reference to high blood pressure possibly being a factor. Can anyone shed light on this? Has he been fobbed off? Should he have further tests? He is being treated for angina and his blood pressure has always been on the low side. Meanwhile, my mum is having to cope with answering the same questions over and over again and reminding him what has happened and what is happening soon. Where do we go from here?
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Is the memory loss related to words, names? Or does it extend to doing things, or places?

I was really confused when my wife could not figure out how to use a computer mouse, or to make tea, or to write her own name. Memory loss with dementia is more than forgetting things short term. Was it a specialist mental health unit at the hospital?
 

Sandy

Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
6,847
Hi jemima,

I don't have any direct experience of low bp and dementia, but as I do have low bp myself and like doing internet research here are a few links that might be relevant:

http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Mind_your_head/Common_questions/Lifestyle/diet/salt.htm

Note the paragraph:

Other research suggests that older people who are taking medication to reduce their blood pressure, and whose blood pressure remains low, may in fact be at increased risk of dementia. This could be because their brains are no longer getting enough blood or oxygen, or their lower blood pressure may be secondary to dementia-related brain changes.

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3023060

http://www.seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Alzheimer's/4-01-14low.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/low-blood-pressure/AN01277

So, it looks like for some people there can be some connection, though which is cause and which is effect might be unknown at this point.

It certainly seems like further discussion/investigations might be a good idea.

Also, from other posts on TP you will see examples of people who do very well at the formal memory tests (MMSE) but still have short-term memory loss or memory changes in their home environment.

Sometimes people have what is called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) which is a fairly recently defined state, not nearly as severe as dementia (it may or may not be a precursor to dementia). You can read more about it here:

http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Facts_about_dementia/What_is_dementia/info_mci.htm

Take care,

Sandy
 

ElaineMaul

Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
333
61
Hi,
I haven't yet followed up the links posted but you've 'jogged' a thought that has been nagging at me ...... one that I wonder whether I aught to follow up.

My Dad had a suspected heart attack about 17 years ago (he's 75 now); 'suspected' because he showed all the physical symptons but they couldn't detect the chemical in his blood stream that you get when you have a heart attack.

Following this, he's on a whole raft of tablets for high blood pressure and to keep his cholesterol down ...... I can't remember exactly what.

Anyhow, he was diagnosed with the beginnings of Alzheimers just over a year ago. The doctors recently told my Mum that they can't give him Aricept because his heart rate was so low ..... in the 60s. When I first heard this, I immediately wondered whether such a low heart rate would mean that not enough blood would be pumped round his body and if his brain wasn't getting enough blood, could this cause Alzheimer symptons? He also suffers from Reynards disease ..... a circulation problem ....... so his blood circulation is probably not good. Can a slow heart rate only be treated by fitting a pace maker? The doctor has suggested that if a pace maker is fitted, Aricept could be prescribed. I wondered whether just improving his circulation might help enormously? My f-in-law had very furred arteries, especially the artery gong up into his head, and I always wondered whether the impaired blood flow was a contributing factor in the dementia he had at the end of his life.

BTW ..... again as I think about it, no one has mentioned what his blood pressure is like now ...... perhaps incorrectly, I find myself thinking that if he's got a low pulse rate, his blood pressure would also be low ...... but perhaps my assumption is wrong there?

I think I've ended up asking questions only my Dad's doctor can answer! However, I just wondered if anyone else has experienced anything like this?
Thanks
Elaine
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
Elaine,
My husband was taken off Aricept last August (after 5 years), according to his new consultant because of a slow pulse (Bradycardia).
This was a bolt out of the blue for us, especially as he had no signs of being physically unwell, but my protestations were to no avail, and his dramatic decline was rapid.
Although the decision was out of my hands, I will always wonder whether it was really based on medical grounds, or whether money had a part to play in it.
It doesn't pay to ponder ....... :eek:

Best wishes!
 

ElaineMaul

Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
333
61
Well ...... what with the NICE ruling ..... where we thought he wouldn't be prescribed Aricept (or whatever) because of cost, as a family we'd decided that we would fund it ourselves ..... my Mum and Dad have always done everything in their power for us and we'd do it willingly ....... but then to be told he's not suitable!!!!

The cost thing really makes me angry though. I get really angry at the impression given that older people are somehow 'not worth it' (or is this just me?).

My Dad has worked since he was 14 and has hardly ever claimed on 'the system'. My Mum has also, apart from when we were young. They've brought up 2 people who also fully contribute to the system ........ don't they deserve something back? Don't a heck of a lot of people from their generation?

Ooops ..... soap box time!!
Elaine
 

Lynne

Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
3,433
Suffolk,England
Slightly off at a tangent, but please ...

Does anyone here know how much a private prescription for Aricept would cost ? (assuming one could persuade GP to issue one)
Or would one have to be referred to a consultant, or ... any info. appreciated please.
 

jemima

Registered User
Mar 19, 2006
5
UK
Sandy,
Thank you for your comments and links to articles on low blood pressure. I think my Dad should go back to his GP and see where he goes from here.
Yes, he was seen by a geriatric pyschiatrist as an outpatient, and i assume it was the MMSE test he did, having done a shorter one at home with the CPN previously. He has not been referred to a memory clinic.

He forgets things like when people are coming (and asks the same questions repeatedly), if he has an appointment, when someone has phoned, although he has good days and bad days. He is getting much slower at things which he used to be able to do easily, e.g. his income tax return, so I have taken this on. So far he is managing with everday tasks, although he is very dependant on my mum to keep him right. He just managed when she was in hospital for a couple of days.

Thanks for your concern.

For Lynne: re the cost of aricept, see the following:
"Cost
The cost to the patient through the NHS will be the normal prescription charge. The actual cost for 28 days' supply of the drug is £68.32 for 5mg tablets and £95.76 for 10mg tablets. The cost of a private prescription would be this amount plus an additional dispensing fee charged by the retail chemist, which may be as much as £40 or £50, bringing the total to around £100 to £150. It is therefore a good idea to shop around if you have a private prescription. !

which I found on http://www.alzscot.org/pages/info/aricept.htm

If your GP will write the prescription, it should cut down on consultant's fees, although you may have to visit the consultant from time to time.

Hope this helps.

Jemima
 

Trebor

Registered User
Mar 21, 2006
7
up North
Slow heart rate is one of the most common reasons for not prescribing Aricept et al. I believe that these medications can drop the rate further therefore it is too much of a risk.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
I found this canadian web site with prices in US dollars which are $1.75 to the pound so you could almost devide it in half...

http://www.buyariceptonline.com/

Aricept (donepezil) 10 mg - BRAND
Price: $193.42 $175.84 USD Quantity: 30
Aricept (donepezil) 10 mg *** Save 40% vs. brand, Please contact us to place an order [IGP] - GENERIC
Price: $110.00 $100.00 USD Quantity: 30
Aricept (donepezil) 5 mg - BRAND
Price: $187.97 $170.88 USD Quantity: 30
Aricept (donepezil) 5 mg *** Save 40% vs. brand, Please contact us to place an order [IGP] - GENERIC
Price: $110.00 $100.00 USD Quantity: 30

so ....

MIchael