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Vasculitis and Vascular Dementia running in families?
I'm the daughter of a parent with Alzheimer's (my mom.) My mother's sister - my aunt - also had Alzheimer's and passed from complications due to AD. Recently I learned that I may have vasculitis; it's not clear yet and we're still doing testing.
My question for the group is about Vascular Dementia and if we know anything about its tendency to run in families and be mistaken as AD? My mom and her sister were diagnosed in their 7th decade. If I'm headed down that path too, is there anything I can do now (in my 5th decade) to help myself?
My mom's dementia diagnosis was given well after the symptoms had progressed. Are we getting better at proactively diagnosing dementias? Can doctors see dementia coming, perhaps in familial disease? I wonder if my mom's AD may in fact be VD and might it change her treatment? She's late stage (6+)
Any tips on this situation would be appreciated. I do not have a neurologist 'on staff.' In college they thought I had Multiple Sclerosis due to a variety of symptoms. That dx was retracted. No one has mentioned to me that I may be headed for dementia and it's only me who now has some labwork that puts me at high risk of vasculitis and I worry. I would imagine that other child caregivers worry about having dementia themselves. Just wondering if there's anything I can / should do, other than trying to live life as fully as possible.
With my diagnosis of cognitive impairment not otherwise specified, my cognitive changes have been attributed to systemic lupus, although I also contend with sleep apnea and hypertension and antiphospholipid syndrome which can mimic multiple sclerosis.
People with lupus are known to have memory loss and cognitive changes. Also those with MS.
When I first joined many members posted scientific explanations of the link between cognitive changes and autoimmune disease. I don't think about all of that now, except for this. Try to ameliorate cardiovascular changes as much as you can. Keep your brain well oxygenated and with a good blood supply. Monitor your blood pressure. Avoid brain trauma. Follow Best Practices. This is all I can add now.
Thank you Iris. I take that to heart and appreciate your advice.
Your message reminded me that we do our best. We don't control outcomes, but we do our best. <3
Hello ninalu, you have been given some good input. As M1 said, "vasculitis" is an autoimmune condition and not a dementia. There are different types of vasculitis; one of our adult sons developed anca vasculitis. It happened out of the blue with no prior medical history and he is an extremely healthy person in great physical shape who has always been very health conscious in diet and exercise. His annual physicals showed no health problems and his cholesterol and other lab values were excellent; he had no history of infections and had been on no medications presently or in the past. It simply just happened.
When a diagnosis of vascultis is made, then one is best served by being followed by a specialist for that condition and it is important to keep that professional connection. That specialist is usually a Rheumatologist. If various areas of the body are affected, there of course would be additional specialists for that particular problem that would be included as part of the healthcare team.
As for having a family with a history of dementia, we are told the best approach we can have is to follow, "best practices," which is to follow a good diet such as the Mediterranean Diet and to get a good exercise regime which can be as simple as walking; and of course no smoking, and moderation in alcohol, keeping up to date with vaccinations, manage health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol; stay brain active by solving crossword puzzles, reading, starting new hobbies; and staying socially connected.
Let us know how you are doing, we will be thinking of you.