Are these issues related to Alzheimer's? - Memory Health: Al...

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Are these issues related to Alzheimer's?

No1butme profile image

so glad all of you are so available and helpful! Has anyone had their husband who has the onset of Alzheimer's and was diagnosed a year ago - have problems with unsteadiness of feet/balance, tired all the time, wear out easily? My hubby goes to the Dr regularly and all physical aspects are ok. I have checked his meds to see what might cause dizziness, tiredness, but those meds were removed. So - are these issues related to Alzheimer's? Thank you for your input

3 Replies

Oh - he is 77 years old

jeffcobb profile image

Me again. Just a quick two cents; i know less about Alzheimers specifically but I can tell you what is true about Lewy Body Dementia and how it might play into your question:

* Real quick: functionally, Alzheimers, LBD and Parkinsons are all the same basic problem, protein deposits in the brain are killing braincells. If it happens more on the mental side, AD gets the nod. If its more on the physical side, Parkinsons is the usual suspect. It largely depends on what region of the brain is damaged. With LBD, the damage seems to sit in both camps, *roughly* equally. That means I can have the mental slips of the Alzheimer patient and the physical problems of a Parkinsons patient. Thankfully so far neither side is totally in control (I am not totally nuts and I can still get around, albeit slowly) but the kicker is I gotta deal with both at once.

* My stability problems have less to do with vertigo (dizziness, etc) and more with simply not having reliable limb control, so a leg might give out or on a festive day, decide to walk in a different direction than the rest of me. This was in fact I think one of the first symptoms to really make itself known: I was working in San Francisco and if you know that place at all, its a major commute to work and home each day, lots of subways, buses, etc. Well I starting falling down for no reason and with no notice. No dizziness, just down I went.

* IMO if your husband is displaying physical symptoms AT ALL I would definitely have him checked for this if you can. Unfortunately that means you need a doctor/neurologist that knows what LBD is and how it works (you would be surprised at how many don't even know what it is) and you need health insurance that covers a special PET scan. Its not that they can do anything special for him with LBD that they couldn't with say AD but LBD is very VERY often misdiagnosed as Alzheimers or Parkinsons and while their causes are really similar, LBD patients often have horrible reactions to typical AS or Parkinsons meds. The anti-psychotics can make you crazier, pain meds hurt more, that kinda thing. This is large part of what did Robin Williams in. So it matters what he has if he has this when it comes to symptoms and treatment.

* One last gotcha that I need you to keep in your mind is this. One other way that LBD differs from AD or Parkinsons are the LBD Cycles, where several times a day you are up mentally and other times you are down in a fog, dumber than a bag of hammers. Yet later you could be working on your homes networking system. AD and Parkinsons don't experience this cycling, not to this degree. Why this is important to you is this: Say your neuro checkups are like 3 months apart and they keep giving him neuro-psych tests to gauge disease progression.

In one scenario, say your hubby does better with more sleep and the tests just happen to be morning tests, as in he is rested, also avoiding the "sundowner syndrome". If he is in an up-cycle when he takes those tests, they will not show a thing wrong with him but by the time you get home, nothing but problems. This alone can lead to strife and anxiety, not understanding why docs keep sayings he is fine yet he keeps doing things that are inexplicable, even to himself.

In another scenario, the hubby does good on day one but on visit two he does terrible simply because he is in a down-phase and the fog had set in before trying the test. It doesn't matter that by the time he gets home or soon thereafter he may seem fine again, the docs and everyone gets worried over the perceived sudden loss of cognitive skills and worse, take action by prescribing things that can actually make the symptoms worse.

Food for thought in the wee hours of the morning.

No1butme -- I haven't seen the symptoms you mentioned in any of the three people I knew or know with Alzheimer's, but that doesn't mean there is no connection. My friend "Martha" continues to run her exercise class normally, but in other areas shows signs of Alzheimer's or other dementia. Normally easygoing, she is hypercritical of many people and makes fun of them, which is unlike anything she has done before.

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