Memory loss and thyroid

hi there

Hoping someone may have some insight on this please. I'm posting on behalf of my 82 yr old father-in-law. He is hypo and takes 100mg per day. Long story short he has recently been saying his wife is missing when she is in the house there with him, there were a couple of isolated incidents and then last week it was happening everyday.

Went to docs yesterday, he thought mini stroke as acute and not a gradual onset like Alzheimers, he had a scan at the hospital and ECG and some other tests, all of which came back negative which is good test. They are retesting thyroid (last tested May 16) but results not due until tomorrow.

I have suggested they also ask for full blood count for vitamins and minerals, especially B12 which I know can cause memory issues and iron for T4 to T3 conversion and oxygen transport. Interestingly these lapses seem to occur in the morning and he is ok later (Levo taken in the morning) and only relate to his wife.

Generally he's in good health, good diet, exercise, no drinking or smoking. They put him on statins recently although cholesterol was only 7 and no other risk factors but he stopped taking it as he kept falling asleep.

Has anyone come across / read about anything similar? any advice on what other things they should be looking / testing for? Just trying to arm the in-laws with as much info as possible as they're of the generation that will believe what the doc says without question and we all know 'normal' isn't usually sufficient. I'm also concerned that the docs having not found anything serious will stop investigating properly.

Many thanks in advance

6 Replies

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  • I would suggest a Free T4 and Free T3 blood test. He may be low in T3 or not converting sufficient from levothyroxine. T3 is the active hormone required in the billions of receptor cells most are in the brain. Also, you are right about B12, make sure his level is around 1,000. Doctors are happy if bloods are in range, and the top for B12 is around 700 but new advice is 1,000. For hypo TSH should be around 1 with FT3 and FT4 around the top of the range.

  • I'm glad your father-in-law stopped the statins. They are renowned for messing up the memory, and won't prolong his life.

    Getting the thyroid and nutrients optimal is essential.

    Some other things that sprung to mind :

    Since the problems your father-in-law is having occur mainly in the mornings could his problem be dehydration? Low blood sugar?

    Some elderly people get fed up having to get up to pee during the night and start restricting their fluids without telling anyone. It is not a good idea (understatement of the year). Also, some people on diuretics think they should restrict their fluid intake as well. This is also a big no-no.

    If low blood sugar is a possibility then perhaps eating a small snack that includes complex carbs last thing at night might help. It couldn't do any harm that I'm aware of.

  • Thanks. hadn't thought about dehydration or low blood sugar, I'll ask. Although I don't think getting up in the night is a problem, the mother-in-law doesn't sleep well and they both have a cup of decaf coffee before bed! but everything to be needs to be examined as you say

  • Statins prevent B12 and CoQ10 absorption, so he needs to be taking those whatever the curent levels (or just stay off statins) - same thing pretty much happened to my Dad and it turned out that he had pernicious anaemia, but the GP was determined that it was mini stroke (warfarin given) and dementia. By the time he got a b12 test it was too late to fix it as the neurological damage was permanent (and he died in a care home thinking it was just after the war and I was my mother). Don't let it happen.

  • Gosh, how sad, thanks for sharing. He's already off the statins thank goodness. I think I will order him some b12 anyway as it will do no harm

  • well the thyroid has come back 'normal' (I've asked them to get results) and the doctors is going to do b12 and iron test. Unfortunately, they can't book him in for 2 weeks !!!

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