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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
There are other things you can do to help slow down the course of this disease, including:
(1) Sticking as closely as you can to a Mediterranean diet (with wine and nuts), which has been shown to help prevent/delay the onset of AD, and also slow its progression. See:
Basically, it involves:
- High intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and cereals
- High intake of unsaturated fatty acids (mostly in the form of olive oil)
- Low intake of saturated fatty acids
- Moderately high intake of fish
- Low-to-moderate intake of dairy products (mostly cheese or yogurt)
- Low intake of meat and poultry
- A regular but moderate amount of ethanol, primarily in the form of wine and generally during meal.
To that, I would add eating a quarter cup of nuts every day -- quite a few studies have found they're very good for you.
Also, olive oil is very good for salad dressings etc, but not so much so for cooking especially at higher temps. Use canola oil for that, or a mix of the two. (I've seen plenty of products that contain olive and canola oils.)
Avoid hydrogenated fats and trans fats like the plague.
(2) Lots of physical exercise ... there is quite a bit of evidence it can help prevent/delay onset.
(3) Lots of exercise for the brain -- activities that involve learning something new. I've seen some reports that learning new things coupled with using a computer can be particularly helpful.
(4) Socialization, doing things with friends and family.
(5) Plenty of rest.
(6) NO SMOKING!!! and avoid air pollution as much as possible.
(7) Do whatever you can do to minimize stress.
I found a helpful: Living Your Best with Early Stage Alzheimer's by Lisa Snyder.
Also, your state may have an Early Stage Advisor. Call our help line 1-800-272-3900 and ask for the phone # and best time to call your local chapter.
Do tell us more about yourself.
Jess - I took Aricept for YOAD and I became a ball of fire activity wise for maybe a month. Namenda made me crazy upset so not that.
Eventually even after cutting dosage back I had to quit Aricept as I had an allergic reaction to it (skin covered in raised brown pond shaped plaques doctor said was "old age".) Got off it and skin cleared up.
I have nothing much to offer right now but I do feel the weight of what all this means to you and your family. I am so glad your Mom is there for you and others.
Heart to hearts with children keep us close even when we can not be near each other, losing your freedom to live your life on your own is a big deal. Having brain damage is a big deal. Handling all these changes is a big deal.
None of the dementia drug makers claim the drugs slow progression, but they can give you a boost that makes one able to function differently. For me I was up and about and painted a basement wall, several coats and super tidy job while taking it. I would never have been able to do it otherwise.
Please come back again. As you share your experience it helps 1000s of other people who read posts but never post themselves. Everything you go through, positive or negative and how you get through it helps other people.
That grandchild is going to be WONDERFUL. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU IN THAT REGARD!
So far I am only on Aricept for my brain.
I find it helps me more in the day if I take it at 7 AM...if I wake late or forget and take it later, like at 9 AM, then I have less of an effect during the day.
I can tell it wears off in the evening.
I feel a bit clearer in my thinking, more solid in my thinking, more sure of what i am thinking and more able to do things...but I am still progressing.
Holey Moley, welcome to the forum, and I am so sorry about your diagnosis. I'm stage 5.
Some thoughts on Aricept to consider. It is the normal protocol to stay on 5 mg for 6 weeks before upping to 10 mg...but if/when that upping comes and the side effects don't go away week or so, then yes stay at 5 mg. The body needs time to adjust to it. You may have already done all that, but on the off chance that they moved you up too fast.
Aricept doesn't slow anything. It just gives you more neurotransmitter to work with. The most recent studies found that we should take Aricept all the way to the final stage, and that those who did stay on it into the later stages were able to stay out of nursing homes. Provided, of course, you can tolerate it.
You might want to take the Aricept in the morning when you first get up. I also have the sleep issues of not being able to stay asleep...only I don't seem to notice it in the day. But I agree, I think sleep is very important (even if I don't seem to miss it).
Many with dementia report some interesting things with Aricept and the other drugs in that class. Some report hallucinations go away, they used to lose things and now they don't, etc. Most report functioning better on it. What the consensus seems to have been is that it would appear to hold you steady where you are at as long as you take it...but, if we stop, we decline to where we would have been if we had never taken it...and, then, if we start taking it again, we'd still stay where we were rather than improve back to where we had been before stopping. As for myself, I do think more clearly and better, but I am still progressing. I am a bit scared to stop it for fear I would be much, much worse (needing more help than I do now). As always, ask your doctor.
Anyways, again welcome.
Some additional thought about Aricept. Yes, the beginning dose is usually 5 mg. to be taken at night. Drowsiness is one of the side effects. For those who do take it in the morning, don't drive or do other complicated tasks until you see what effect it has on you. Everyone responds differently to meds. iI you have sleep disturbances that begin with taking Aricept, do call your doctor ASAP.
Some folks, thanks to a lot of publicity, are being diagnosed at an earlier and earlier stage. Therefore, the 5 mg dosage may be sufficient for a much longer period.
All the research I have read proves that taking Aricept does delay the progression of the disease.
The Aricept does not keep you at the stage where you began the dosageIf that were true, those folks taking Aricept would still be alive until something else took them. I know too many folks who took Aricept and who are dead. What I do see is that so many of us diagnosed are having meaningful life for many, many more years than formerly.
Some folks just do not tolerate Aricept. Discuss it with your doctor. There are other meds that can be tried. Namenda is often added as one approached middle stage.
And for all. It is imperative that you participate to the fullest extent possible in Best Practices. We have to be proactive in our own care.
With all due respect, per the insert, the common well known side effect of Aricept (beyond the runs) is insomnia and trouble sleeping, and trouble staying asleep.
The poster that I was responding to is likewise claiming trouble sleeping (which is the common side effect).
And I know, I would never sleep again if I took Aricept at night.
If it made you drowsy, that would be very interesting, and unusual...and you would likely do better taking it at night...but not someone who it is interfering with sleep.
You might want to look up The Mind Diet. It is a combination of several diets, including the Mediterranean diet which was previously mentioned. I have found that it has helped my DH in his alertness. I personally think simply being off sugar has a tremendous affect on our bodies.
As for the Aricept our neurologist recommended taking it at night. Which is what he has done for almost 4 years. How each persons body responds to any medication is very unique. I will say everyone we know takes it at night.
And again, with all due respect.
I googled Aricept and it said nothing about time of day to take. It was quite adamant about following doctor's orders about taking the drug.
Therefore, it is not up to any of us to tell patients when to take the drug. Any changes, including time of day, should be first discussed with the prescribing doctor!!!
Mimi S. wrote:
I googled Aricept and it said nothing about time of day to
Exactly, because there is no ONE precise time of day that it
needs to be taken.
However, because Aricept CAN and often DOES, as
a well known common side effect, give one insomnia and cause trouble
sleeping and staying asleep (just exactly as Holey Moley mentioned
in her/his post that I was responding to), then it would make
sense to consider the possibility of taking it in the morning
(if she/he wasn't already).
Furthermore, no one ever suggested that anyone go against
their doctor's orders. Indeed, no one
knows what Holey Moley's doctor's orders even were, as they were not mentioned in
the post. However, since it was clear in Holey Moley's post (at least to
me) that there was a lot of communication with the doctor going on already...I
thought it was a given that it would be discussed with the doctor (and ended my
post as such).
That said, you raise some interesting points...and upon
consideration, I have to say that I find it very strange that (in the very
beginning of treatment) any doctor (who understands what they are doing) would
order Aricept (with it's known side effects), at night, before bed time...just
from a purely logical standpoint.
My doctor simply rx'd it as 1x a day and left it up to me to
figure out when I wanted to take it. At
first, I took it at night, since I am generally nervous of reactions, and it
helps (me) to go to sleep directly after taking any new med for the first
time. Within a few days, I had trouble
sleeping...to the point that I had not sleep for a week solid. So I switched to morning. I told my doctor, but she could care less
when I take it - so long as I take it daily (that is a paraphrase of her
response). And, in retrospect, I guess I
like her that way. I still have trouble
sleeping, but not as much, and the Aricept is well worth it to me - but that is
Upon further consideration, that I hadn't considered until
just now, but if you think about why we take Aricept in the first place (to
give more neurotransmitter for brain to function better)...wouldn't it only
make sense (logically speaking) to take it during the day when we need our
brain the most???
Nonetheless, I take mine at 7 AM...and I have noticed a HUGE
difference in my day when I forget and take it at 9 AM verses 7 AM...which taught
me to stick like glue to 7 AM. I have so much improved brain function when I
take it at 7 AM, and it tappers off during the late afternoon, and wears off as
the evening starts getting towards bedtime.
Anyways. In the end,
no one should ever take a personal response to a post as suggesting that all
people anything...as always, a personal response to someone is in the context
of what that person is asking, and that person's specific issues. Example, Holey Moley's trouble sleeping per
Aricept has nothing whatsoever to do with Mimi's drowsiness on Aricept.
Best to you, Mimi.
Welcome again to the forum, Holey Moley.
Jess - I re-read this post regarding medicine and dementia and do NOT recall posting an answer to you. But when I re-read all you are going through just had to say I wish you all the love and courage in the world.
Do brain injuries usually turn into dementias? I really hope there is some easier prognosis.
Read some where women need lower levels of any medication than normally prescribed (men are standard tests subjects?) and over 50 women need even less.
My personal experience is I need less than half, usually 25% of any medication!
The thing is 2.5 mg Aricept worked for me when I could not tolerate 5mg.
Holey Moley - Is that right name? Hope you post more often - we all learn from each other.
we are only experts in our own lives, but there are often things mentioned in posts that help others. Our lives and bodies are unique, encourage us all to believe in our reactions.