No B12 injections for over a decade!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Sueef67, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Sueef67

    Sueef67 Registered User

    Jan 10, 2016
    2
    Manchester
    Hi everyone,

    My Father has been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, he's 78. I always thought he might be susceptible to something like this as he was deficient in B12 for a long time in his 30's (he stubbornly refused to see a GP) which resulted in his condition escalating to pernicious anemia. Anyhow.. he recovered and received regular injections of B12 and also had the appropriate blood tests to check everything was okay.

    He started to get confused last year. This would come and go, or plateau I suppose they call it. Now everyday is a "bad day" as he's delusional, hallucinating and generally in an terrible state. We have received diabolical treatment from our GP. I called them on one particular day, when Dad had been extremely aggressive to Mum, only for the Doctor to ask me what I expected him to do about it, that I should look into rest homes and he'd think about sending over some diazepam. In other words he was letting me know I had no chance of a home visit.

    I'd often wondered over the years why the prescriptions for his B12 injections stopped. I suppose I presumed that the surgery kept them in stock and he no longer needed to collect them himself from the pharmacy, where I was chief dispenser at the time. Now, after getting Social Services involved the surgery is suddenly taking a keen interest in Dad's condition and the pharmacy (which I left in 2006) has sent over several boxes of B12 which the nurse is going to administer to him later today.

    I now strongly suspect that he hasn't had any B12 for well over a decade. Certainly it's getting on for 12-15 years since I dispensed the last prescription for him. I am naturally furious about this (he had blood tests and would say that the Doctor had not requested a B12 check) and wondered if anyone else has encountered this kind of thing?
     
  2. Amelie5a

    Amelie5a Registered User

    Nov 5, 2014
    90
    Scotland
    My Dad (88) was diagnosed with B12 deficiency in his 60's and was pretty meticulous about getting the injection every 3 months. It never occurred to me that it was no longer happening, assuming that his GP practice would follow up if he began to slip.

    But shortly after he was diagnosed with mixed dementia almost two years ago, it emerged that he hadn't had B12 for some time (I never discovered how long but suspect it could have been between one and several years).

    Since the diagnosis he's been back on 3 monthly injections - but even so, we have to book it in and take along the phial with the B12 in it (apart from this last time when, because he's under the care of district nurses, it was done at home)

    I could never understand why the GP computer system didn't flag up he was due B12 when he was in the surgery for other things during the time leading up to the dementia diagnosis. How much the 'B12 absence' had to play in the onset of his dementia I don't know - but it can't have helped!
     
  3. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    514
    My OH (in his 40s and full mental capacity!) has B12 injections and managed to forget about them for two or three years about ten years ago - he is expected to book them up himself, and I don't think he's ever had any kind of a reminder from his GP. The only time I can remember him having a blood test is when he went back after having forgotten them for so long, and the nurse wanted him to have a blood test to check that he still needed the injections.
     
  4. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    1,051
    GLASGOW
    I have pernicious anaemia and one of the symptoms of low b12 is memory problems and depression. I call it brain fogs. You have an overwhelming urge to be on your own with no extra noise or fuss. There is no system to help you remember to get your injections. I have to request the prescriptions and keep the vials in the house too.

    Other symptoms are painfull & stiff joints and muscles which make walking difficult.

    Think about it - these are all dementia symptoms. The ability to absorb b12 reduces as we get older without pernicious anaemia. Japan has the lowest rate of dementia in the developed world but an elderly population. Their threshold for b12 injections is lower than Europes. How many of our dear ones could be a little better with b12 injections?
     
  5. Padraig

    Padraig Registered User

    Dec 10, 2009
    1,039
    Hereford
    Anyone who has had a total Gastrectomy due to cancer requires B12 injections for the remainder of their lives. Many have B12 monthly. In my case I have my injections every twelve weeks and it's up to me to remember. I'm told it's too far ahead for the surgery to make an appointment.

    It's news to me that a lack of B12 is related to Dementia!
     
  6. notsogooddtr

    notsogooddtr Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    867
    Apparently it can be,the NHS website lists it as a possibility.Not sure how big the risk I though.
     
  7. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    1,051
    GLASGOW
    Just to be clear, lack of b12 does not cause dementia of the brain, but can cause dementia like symptoms. I get the "brain fogs"
     
  8. Sueef67

    Sueef67 Registered User

    Jan 10, 2016
    2
    Manchester
    Thanks

    Thanks for all your replies. Dad now has to have injections very 48-hrs, so his B12 levels must have been virtually nil. He always kept up with regular blood tests as he has an under active thyroid. He used to ask if they were checking his B12 and was told there was no need on several occasions. I just wondered if, now that he's getting the jabs, we should expect an improvement in his general condition? I have heard that a lot of people who are on the injections suffer symptoms like confusion and fatigue but this tends to cease after they've had treatment? Last night he told us there was a van outside that had been watching the house for days and bailiffs were due to call today. It's heartbreaking :(
     
  9. Padraig

    Padraig Registered User

    Dec 10, 2009
    1,039
    Hereford
    Thank you Quilty, it's reassuring that some hold the view that a low level of B12 in not connected to Dementia. From my experiences the lack of B12 following my operation left me tired most days. It appears I've been lucky as it's five years and four months since my operation. The survival rate for advanced stomach cancer in the UK is just under 27%.
    There is also one another problem since my operation, it's thyroid problem. I take a low dose of Levothyroxine daily. One of the common symptoms from the lack of the hormone Thyroxine is: weight gain. I should be so lucky as I lost over a stone following my operation and eaten all kinds of food to gain weight, but no avail.

    I've also had many 'foggy days'. Guess we're all different and approach our health problems differently.
    This double vision makes typing a real challenge.
     
  10. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    1,051
    GLASGOW
    Ive got throid failure too. My doc suggested taking folic acid every day too as this is used up when your b12 is high. I dont know if its working as i just keep taking it.
     

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