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susan64in
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 12:45 PM
Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 5


Hello,

I have been diagnosed, with hypertension, cluster migraines and have many complaints from co-workers about my memory issues. My mom died of Alzheimer's in 2011. It was long horrible death. I have had other family issue and great stress over the pass five years, Last month I came across an e-mail at work that I was not suppose to see and it stated I had been asked several times to do something but I am not comprehending. I work as a teacher's asst. and have been making more mistakes grading papers, In fact the teacher had to take over grading tests, due to parent complaints of my mistakes. My Dr. thinks it is from my hypertension and advised me to go down to a substitute position, due to stroke risk factors. I have been to a Neuro. psych and he said the only decline shown is in the area of concentration. Neurologist in are area are a joke. We only have three and it takes several months to get into one. When I finally did get an appointment I was made to feel like I was wasting the neurologist time, until I ended up in the hospital with a blood pressure reading of 186/100 and sever head aches. All MRI's and other test are negative.That was a year ago. After this happened I was not able to work and had to go to speech and PT for three months to recover from my migraine attack. The Dr. said it falls under the TIA umbrella.

I had another attack last month and went to my family Dr. I asked him if this is all the better I will get and he said yes. I asked about Alzheimer's and he said he's hates to give me a diagnosis, but with the work complaints it is possible, but he also thought it could be due to high anxiety and stress...which are contributing factors to Alzheimer's but they do not want to give me that diagnosis yet..so for now I'm vascular dementia.

I chose to write this now. I'm having a dementia fog. I am frustrated, humiliated and very angry at what I've become. I repeat things and my husband looks at me like I'm an idiot. That's the clue as to what I'm doing is wrong. I have had to use spell check at least 20 times..Later when my head clears I want to look back at this.

Thank you for listening..I am looking for support groups via help from the Alzheimer's association. I am tiered and sad, and hate who I am becoming.

Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1:37 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 6090


Susan,
I tried to look at your profile to see if you gave your location. Te site is acting up.

Dementia is like an umbrella with all sorts of spokes. Vascular dementia is one of the spokes. Alzheimer's is another. You need togged to a major institution sch as a teaching hospital or University with a demential department. The doctor's there're best suited to give you a good testing. Some folks preset with a few dementias.

A good book for you to read is: The Alzheimer's Action Plan by Doraiswamy and Gwyther of Duke Univ. And just abut every clinic has a two or three month waiting time for an appointment. It's worth going a distance even if you have to stay at a motel for a night.

Meanwhile, do get involved in what several of us on these boards describe as Best Practices.


(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.



Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 3:38 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 14829


susan64in wrote:



I am frustrated, humiliated and very angry at what I've become.

I am tiered and sad, and hate who I am becoming.


Welcome to our online support group, Susan. I am sorry for what is happening to you. It sounds about like what has happened to me. I had difficulties at work, and had to give up my medical career, due to memory problems.

It has been a long journey for me, over two decades. At my recent neurologist visit, the doctor spoke of vascular etiologies. He did not use the word dementia, but cognitive impairment. That's okay with me.

You did not state your age, but serious changes are obviously happening with you. I can't say whether you have dementia or not, but I can say that now is the time to make decisions about your current life and your future.

This is what I did. I investigated ALL possible etiologies, and got treatment for them. I made as much improvement as I could. What remained was the cognitive impairment. In my case, the memory medications that were prescribed, are helping me.

In your case, hypertension can indeed be the cause of your memory problems. The first thing my neurologist said to me was, "You've got to get that blood pressure down!" My bp was 160/100 at my first visit in 2008.

You already have a dx of migraines and hypertension. These are serious risk factors. Work on available treatment.

You may need to consider if now is the time to think about retirement or if you can manage with work accommodations. There are threads on work accommodations. If you are younger than retirement age, you might think about going out on long term disability.

This is a frightening change in a person's life. But we can defeat fear by learning as much as we can and taking control of as much as we can. It won't be easy. This is why we come to this board. We come to learn and to lean on each other.

There are different ways of looking at this. In my mind, I call us Dementia Pioneers. We are the first generation who is actively treating ourselves for dementia and cognitive impairment and taking control. We are not passively waiting to be taken care of.

There are chances that you will not progress, and will remain the same, or even improve. You don't know at this point. Take things slowly, and above all, do not panic. Develop a sense of serenity. You can manage. It can be different than it was for your mom.

It is most important to avoid negative thoughts and stress and anxiety. One of our emeritus members, Alan in Colorado, was himself a psychologist. He warned us that stress and anxiety reduce our cognition by HALF!

This is very important, because stress and anxiety is all around us. It is important to put up barriers to negativity, in whichever ways we can. Use the stress reduction techniques that you know.

Pay attention to your work performance reviews. You inadvertenly saw one report. Do you have access to your permanent file? You might consider going on short term disability or family medical leave until your medical situation is more under control or until you have more of an idea of which way to go. The idea is to not allow yourself to be vulnerable to getting fired at a moment's notice.

Please pay attention to what Mimi wrote. Please keep reading and posting. We will help you. This is our support group. We support each other.

Iris L.


dayn2nite
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 5:57 PM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 3100


Susan - I know they told you your MRIs were all "negative", but did they mention whether they contained small strokes? Because that could certainly be a clue to vascular issues in the brain. Just the fact that you had to be off work and get speech and occupational therapy to recover tells me there are definitely vascular issues.

It's very frustrating trying to pursue a diagnosis because doctors are often happy to write symptoms off as "stress" or "depression".

Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 10:14 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 14829


susan64in wrote:

I had another attack last month and went to my family Dr. I asked him if this is all the better I will get and he said yes. I asked about Alzheimer's and he said he's hates to give me a diagnosis, but with the work complaints it is possible, but he also thought it could be due to high anxiety and stress...which are contributing factors to Alzheimer's but they do not want to give me that diagnosis yet..so for now I'm vascular dementia.




I am glad dayn2nite posted. If you have had a mini stroke or small stroke, it is possible that you will recover function. Or, it is possible that you will not. There is no way to predict. You must receive good rehabilitation and see what happens.

I would suggest that you search for an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center or a university memory clinic for a proper evaluation and to begin appropriate medication. The family doctors do not have the experience to diagnose the dementias.

Please research leucoaraiosis. My doctor just diagnosed me with this although my MRI has had "white spots" since 2003. It is a sign of vascular changes and microstrokes.

Silent brain infarcts and leucoaraiosis are frequently observed in patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) and ischemic stroke. Patients with silent brain infarcts and leucoaraiosis at baseline are a high-risk group with an increased long-term risk for recurrent stroke, cognitive decline, and dementia.

Iris L.

susan64in
Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 10:39 AM
Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 5


Thanks for the great advise....I am only 51 years old. My MRI's are clear as glass,,nothing. Only medical diagnostic tool that has confirmed any issues is the blood pressure cuff. It reached 200/110s a year ago. Now my base line is 120/70 with high
is in the 150's/90's.I wonder if I have conversion disorder at times, and have also asked for psychological reference beyond the neuro psych evaluation. My Dr said I don't need a psychologist and thinks it can only make things worse....like I said the local neurologist I went to are so overwhelmed. We only have 4 in a tri-state area of 500,000 people to serve, so I am treated as a waste of time, since all test are negative. In fact the neurologist for 6 mos thought I was only 40 when at the time I was 50!!! My family Dr. is very compassionate and started me on the migraine and blood pressure medication which helped tremendously. The neuro. physch says my only issue is with attention..My visit with him was only a great summer day back in July and I know from e-mails and overhearing conversations at work that others notice my short comings...so they have no negative test results and a good evaluation from neuro pysch so I'm ok in the neurologist eyes...My family Dr. has seen me more and believes there is Mild cognitive decline. All I know is I'm tiered , getting depressed and need for someone to help me either get better or be level with me..If It's psychological ok..lets deal with it..If not tell me..If you don't know..tell me that. I think they wanted me to return to normal daily living to see how I would do. It did not go so well.

Iris L.
Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 2:05 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 14829


Susan, just because you do not have a definite diagnosis of cognitive impairment does not mean that there is nothing wrong. Work with what you are diagnosed with. They are important risk factors, especially the hypertension. Be aware of any changes that might develop over time. It is not too early to begin Best Practices.

Also, you can institute work accommodations to help yourself at work and in your daily life. Safety is key. There are threads on work accommodations on this board and you can search for them.

Another important focus is to work on stress reducing techniques. Stress reduces our cognition by HALF. Do whatever you can to bring serenity into your life.

Please continue to read and to post, Susan. Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

Iris L.

alz+
Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 7:53 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3053


Susan, just because you do not have a definite diagnosis of cognitive impairment does not mean that there is nothing wrong.

Another important focus is to work on stress reducing techniques. Stress reduces our cognition by HALF. Do whatever you can to bring serenity into your life.

Iris L.
*************
Susan -
When I read your post it made me remember my struggles with neurologists and one who told me my body went numb because I was without a man and my children were grown - conversion disorder.
That kind of cr*p helped me not seek further medical advice.
Anyway, unfortunately it is only looking back I recall things other people said about me that were signs of some thing wrong.

My sense is that you would not be here posting and suffering from making mistakes you are not really aware of if there were not something wrong. I also suffered from migraines - and after ALZ diagnosis they dropped off! I had migraines since I was 13!
I am concerned for you and do hope you do what you can to get some kind of sense and direction. If it was stroke or TIA it seems many people do recover and some have mild memory type problems.
What Iris said about stress helped me get my feet on the ground after I came here once diagnosed.
You will find people with all kinds of knowledge here and insight. Please come back and start right away to make your life easier, avoid stressors when ever possible. It is one of the most helpful pieces of advice for those with dementia, and everyone else on the planet.

I have found people react in many ways, my expectations are lowered all the time. Let us know how things go, because you are so young it is very hard for people to believe we have dementia. When we do, they just do not know how to respond. Have low expectations and good boundaries.

I do hope you find a way to get help soon. Also, notice if you are still smiling.
If you have stopped smiling, practice again until you can.

 
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