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New - need encouragement / suggestions
JUT
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 11:55 AM
Joined: 7/27/2014
Posts: 10


Hi. New here.  

My mom is displaying many of the symptoms of dementia.  Short-term memory problems, problems using computer (formerly advanced user), trouble keeping up with appointments, seems to have lose her confidence.  She also tires very very easily (eyes always look puffy now).  She is 53 and has not been to a doctor in 20 years, until all this started.  My dad made her quit her job last year, because she had really started having a lot of stress. At the time, we thought her boss caused the stress, but now we are wondering if her symptoms caused her job performance to suffer.  

So far, the medical doctor did an MRI, blood tests and sent her to a neuropsychologist.  MRI showed nothing. The Neuro psychological testing has shown major deficits across the board.  He then sent her directly to a neurologist because he said her behavior did not match her test scores.  She keeps house, very well groomed, etc.  Her said with her extremely low test scores, she should really be showing more dysfunction in her daily life.


The neuro ordered tons of blood tests - don't yet know the results.  


My ? is this.  She went through months/years of major stress where she would sleep very very little.  Can this cause dementia symptoms?  I've also read that sleep apnea can cause dementia.  Is this true? Are we doing to right steps?  There are NO cases of Alzheimers in her family that we know of.


We all worried about her.  Prior to all this happening, she was the one who took care of everything - finances, family, etc.  Now she's very dependent on my dad.


JUT
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:11 PM
Joined: 7/27/2014
Posts: 10


I forgot to mention that she uses a patch that the doctor prescribed (the medical doctor).  She started wearing it before either of the neuro visits.

 


Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:36 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


JUT wrote:


 

My ? is this.  She went through months/years of major stress where she would sleep very very little.  Can this cause dementia symptoms?  I've also read that sleep apnea can cause dementia.  Is this true? 


Welcome, JUT.  Years ago, I experienced a prolonged period of sleep deprivation which I'm sure contributed to my current cognitive impairment.  You just reminded me of that.

Sleep apnea causes cognitive impairment. I have both.  Some of my neurocognitive scores improved after treatment with CPAP.  If this is a consideration, your mom should be tested.  In fact, Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed only other possible causes of dementia have been ruled out.  So be sure to follow up with the doctors about the results of testing for other conditions.


By patch, do you mean Exelon patch?  Exelon patch is helping me a great deal. 


Here is a link to newcomer information:

http://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?tid=2147499781&g=posts&t=2147499795  


Iris L.    




JUT
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 1:24 PM
Joined: 7/27/2014
Posts: 10


Thank you Ms. Iris. I think it is Exelon. She has an appt. with the neurologist this week.They will give them the results of very extensive blood tests. The neuro recommended a PET scan, but Dad said ins. has denied it twice? He really wants the PET scan, because he thinks it will be more definitive.

I'll tell Dad about the sleep apnea test. She does snore.  For many years, she was up until 3/4AM waiting on me and my friends (we partied alot in college).  I feel really bad about that now and worry that I may have caused her problems. She was up at 6AM, so I know she probably only got about 2 hrs sleep a night.  My Dad has just recently given us more details about her condition.  I didn't realize it was so serious until he told me she has dementia.  If sleep apnea did cause it, will it go away if it is treated? Thank you. I'll check out the link you gave me. 

I wanted to add one more thing. The dr said it was not depression. But, I was told that my grandmother (my mom's mom) was on antidepressant medication from her 40's.  My mom is alot like her. I was looking at some older posts her and saw that depression can mimic dementia.  My mom seems happy, but can you hide depression?

 


Myriam
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 2:34 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326


JUT, do you think your Mom is pretending to be happy, or is she generally happy. A person who suffers from depression is not likely to be or act happy. Does your father spend more time with her than anyone else? He should be able to tell you if he believes she's depressed. 


The process of determining if a person has Alzheimer's is a process of elimination. It appears like she has a good medical team working on that. Do you think so? Wishing you and your family the best care for your Mom. 


If she is diagnosed with dementia, do you think she could join us on these boards? Maybe it will help her to communicate with those of us who are on the same journey.


JUT
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 2:57 PM
Joined: 7/27/2014
Posts: 10


Miss Myriam. I actually think my mom is happy. My Dad does too. I DO think she has been under a lot of stress though. And, why is she so tired? As far as the tests and stuff, it just seems to be taking a long time. Like I said, my Dad has kept us out of the loop. He and my oldest sister have been handling everything. I guess he didn't want to worry me and my little brother. The next appt. is actually in 2 weeks, not this week like I said earlier.  I guess I came here hoping that someone would tell me that this could really be something besides Alzheimer's. I am nervous because I've been reading about it and it is not what I thought it was.  I thought it was just  being forgetful.
Mimi S.
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:47 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Another thought: many people with high IQ's have a large amount of reserve intelligence. And so, although the neuro tests can show a huge amount of loss, since they started at the top, they still have ability to cope.  

 

I was diagnosed about seven years ago. I have deficits but still manage to live by myself.


Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:01 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Hi again, JUT.  The primary risk factors in Alzheimer's disease are advancing age and genetics.  So don't worry, you didn't cause your mom's dementia, if this is what she has.  


Like Myriam says, other contributing diseases must be ruled out before a diagnosis of Alzheimer's can be made.  You just have to wait and see what is the response after other factors have been treated.  


In my case, I have several factors that contribute to cognitive impairment, including sleep apnea.  I'm doing better with treatment for the sleep apnea, but I still have significant cognitive impairment persisting.


Many times there is overlap between depression and dementia.  In some cases, treating the depression will improve cognition.  You still have to wait and see the results.  You must treat depression for at least 6-8 weeks to know if there is a response, because the response to antidepressants is slow.  People can have a medical depression that is more than just feeling down a bit.


Let us know how your mom is responding to the Exelon patch.  Hopefully, she will remain at this level or improve, and not decline.

Keep reading the boards.  There is much to learn.

Iris L.



JUT
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 8:19 AM
Joined: 7/27/2014
Posts: 10


Thanks anyway everyone.