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Old 01-12-2007, 03:56 PM   #1
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Question Is it possible?

As most of you know, my Mom has been in a nursing home for 1.5 years suffering from advanced Dementia, an uhealed broken hip, and consequently being confined to a wheelchair.

Recently she had another attack of congestive heart failure, was in a hospital for 3 days, and we were told the heart drugs were not working any more and there was nothing they could do for her heart at this late age (98) and also that she had lung cancer. The doctor explained to my brother that the heart failure would take her away before the lung cancer reached a painful stage.

So they took her off some of her heart meds since they were not working any more.

Now it is about a month later - suddenly Mom sounds more lucid on the phone, is more responsive when people visit, is again saying "I've been here so long, when am I going home?" which she has not done for six months.
I wonder .. is it possible that much of her Dementia has been caused by the many different heart meds she was on, and it is reversing itself now that she is off them - e.g. just as I asked 3 or 4 years ago - are we saving her body but letting her mind go? and now is her mind being restored as her body is ready to go?

I wonder if there is an answer to this question.

Meanwhile the 3 days in the hospital cost $20,000 which was covered by Medicare and her supplementary insurance, not Medicaid, which now pays for her NH care. Strange system, I can't make sense of it but am glad someone paid for it!

Love,

Martha

 
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:14 PM   #2
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Re: Is it possible?

Dear Martha,
I've learned as you have too, I'm sure, that anything is possible. Just wonder if it is a surge before the end. Many people I know have had a few weeks of lucidity before they meet their Maker...mostly other diseases, not AD, but it would make sense since they took her off the heart medication. Appreciate this new behavior...which I'm sure you do.
God Bless!
Choquis

 
Old 01-12-2007, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Is it possible?

It is so strange that you posted this about your mother. A few weeks ago my FIL could barely talk and seemed to be heading downhill fast. They have been weaning him off some of his drugs, not his high blood pressure ones, but anti-depressants, sleeping pills, etc.

We went to visit him yesterday and he seemed totally different. He immediately called me by my name. He spoke slowly, but when I mentioned it would be his birthday in a few days, he said it had been circled on the calendar. I asked what year he was born and he immediately said the correct year.

I know he still has dementia, but the difference was startling. He was speaking in complete sentences and responding to most things we said. One quesiton that stumped him was when I asked him what kind of cake he liked. He thought a minute and said he didn't know. Just the fact he answered the question was surprising.

These are small things, but for the past few months he has been very unresponsive, simply staring at us, but not responding to anything much. He had a heart attack several years ago, but the only medication he takes are for his high blood pressure. He takes two or three types for that.

I think it has been mentioned before on the board how many of our loved ones seemed to develop dementia after having heart problems. Maybe there is a connection to the drugs. What was your mother taking?

Jane

 
Old 01-13-2007, 04:14 AM   #4
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Re: Is it possible?

My mother was taking a beta blocker, a calcium inhibitor (I think this is the right term), digitalis, diuretics, an acid reducer to avoid the inevitable heartburn that you get with all thse drugs, and a cholesterol lowering medication for awhile - discontinued when the dementia was finally diagnosed. For a short time they tried Namenda and Aricept (no effect), and possibly something to relax her and help her sleep at night (before she went to the NH she was wandering at night.)

Anyway, this was the first rational conversation I have had with her for a year. She remembered the visit of my cousin on Saturday - almost a week ago when we talked, that he had brought home baked cookies, how he looks now (bald, but he has been bald since the 60s!) and that he came all the way from Larchmont - she remembered the town he lives in!

It really makes one think - if I ever get heart problems, (high BP was one of her main symptoms) do I treat the heart and lose my mind, or do I try every other method (excerscise, weight loss, better eating, etc) and let nature take its course? Or am I assuming a non existent connection?

Love,
Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 01-13-2007 at 04:15 AM.

 
Old 01-13-2007, 06:56 AM   #5
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Re: Is it possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha H View Post
It really makes one think - if I ever get heart problems, (high BP was one of her main symptoms) do I treat the heart and lose my mind, or do I try every other method (excerscise, weight loss, better eating, etc) and let nature take its course? Or am I assuming a non existent connection?

Love,
Martha
There may be no connection, but every day we are finding out that new drugs are causing unforeseen problems. Isn't it Nexium, an acid reflux drug, that is being blamed for brittle bones now? I know the damage that Lipitor can do to one's body and mind because my husband suffered depression and tremendous pain while taking it. My FIL was on Zocor, another statin drug, for a few years before his dementia was detected.

My husband and I are exploring natural ways of dealing with health problems. We take high-grade Omega 3, flaxseed and several other things daily. We are fortunate in that neither of us have high blood pressure, which seems to cause so many different health problems.

Jane

 
Old 01-13-2007, 05:09 PM   #6
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Re: Is it possible?

I wrote a long post yesterday on this thread and hit a wrong key and lost it all just before submitting.

Dad had a very similar experience when his doctor down south took him off all of his meds completely. He had congestive heart failure before and was taking too many meds (13 of them!) and too many things wrong with him to mention. He had amazing clarity for a while. He has been slowly reintroduced to some of the meds, the ones he absolutely has to have. I believe he's up to 5 or 6 meds now.

Sad to say he is back to a downward decline again. He's just a little worse now than he was when he left here to go south 1 1/2 years ago.

Have to go now. Feeling sick again. I've run the gammut of antibiotics and this infection in my chest just will not go away. I've been fighting this since October. December was the closest I've come to feeling somewhat well in a while. My doctor said we're running thin on antibiotic options now. Not so sure what that means and don't really want to know.

Love, Barb
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:46 PM   #7
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Re: Is it possible?

Dear Barb, I am so sorry that you are sick again. I guess the doctor means you have a type of bacteria that doesn't respond to the usual antibiotics.

I hope something can be found to treat you, but in the meantime try to keep warm, drink plenty of fluids, try honey for the cough, take a good multivitamin, a little extra C might help or an echinacea supplement, and try to get lots of sleep. Before antibiotics were discovered people had to fight off all kinds of infections with only symptom relief, and most got through it - and were more resistant afterwards to getting that disease again.

It's really important that you drink plenty - even if you don't feel thirsty. I hope you get well soon!

Love,

Martha

 
Old 01-14-2007, 06:32 AM   #8
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Re: Is it possible?

My husband had high cholesterol a few years ago and Doctor wanted to put him on the medicine. My husband refused and went on vitamins for it instead, and watched his diet. After a couple of months, it lowered his level to normal. The Doctor didn't say a word. Of course, they want to dispense the meds, that's their job. But the side effects can be terrible and long term. I'm glad he went on vitamins. It's worth a try first. Good luck to all, C

 
Old 01-14-2007, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: Is it possible?

I don't mean to hijack this thread but Cyt can you please tell me what type of vitamins and what type of diet if any your husband went on? I'm interested in trying it because I too have high cholesterol.

Thanks!

Love, Barb
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: Is it possible?

I'm curious, Martha....what beta blocker was your mom on? My mom was prescribed Coreg in Oct. 2005, and that is precisely when she started with the dementia symptoms. My dad also has congestive heart failure, but he is not on a beta blocker, and his memory is still good. I've often thought that there is some correlation between the heart meds my mom is on, and her dementia symptoms....because she never was like this until AFTER she started on her heart meds.

If you recall, I called her cardiologist's office a few months after she had been on her meds and asked if they had heard of any other patients with dementia symptoms after being on the meds, but they hadn't heard of any cases like this.

I'm still convinced there is some association between the heart meds and her dementia symptoms.

 
Old 01-14-2007, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: Is it possible?

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to add my 25 cents worth to this thread. My father in law is on Coreg and has been for 2 - 3 years. He is 92 and still going, just not as fast, and has no alzheimers, just little wrecks in his car!!!

I know that he should not be driving and try to get my husband to get his license taken away. But he does not do it.

A lot of us that know my dad think that his was first brought on (alzheimers) when my sister died of a freak accident about 12 years ago!

So, I think that some are affected by meds and some are not!

Thanks for listening. And take care.

Love, Wananbe

 
Old 01-15-2007, 04:34 AM   #12
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Re: Is it possible?

Propanolol (unsure of the spelling) was the name of the drug.

 
Old 01-15-2007, 07:43 AM   #13
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Re: Is it possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToBeFreeToRoam View Post
So, I think that some are affected by meds and some are not!

Thanks for listening. And take care.

Love, Wananbe
Yes, I agree some people are affected by meds and others can take them with no effect. Statin drugs are a case in point. Millions take them with apparently no side effects while others have suffered permanent nerve damage.

I will admit I am intrigued by the medication connection to AD. I wonder if the rise of more cases of AD can be traced to the increased propensity to dispense prescriptions for almost every ailment.

I was reading an article recently that says there is a shift away from the leading theory that has held that sticky blobs in the brain (amyloid plaques) cause AD. In fact, the plaque formation may be a reaction to the real cause, much as a scab is formed when you scrape your knee. The researcher said that concluding that B-amyloid and plaques cause AD is like believing a scab on your knee causes pain. Also, the plaques have not been found in some deceased AD vicitims, but have been found in the brains of people who did not have dementia before they died.

The big pharma companies have placed their faith in the plaque theory so medications, not very effective ones at that, have been targeted at that. Oh, well, it appears that other alternatives are now being explored. I will remain hopeful.

Jane

 
Old 01-15-2007, 08:50 AM   #14
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Re: Is it possible?

Barb - I'll have to get back to you re the vitamins my hubby took - he took so many different ones, I'll have to ask him and he's not here right now. I will do it, though, and post. It really did work for him - amazing. C

 
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