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Old 07-19-2011, 07:38 PM   #1
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Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

My father is 74 and I don't know what his diagnosis is. He sufffers from chronic high blood pressure, but he started to have a shuffling walk and he tells me sometimes his legs will freeze up (he can't move them)for 15 minutes. And it's only in his legs. He stutters when he talks sometimes too. He old me his doctor told him old men get it... so I don't know what his diagnosis is. Does it sound like Alzheimer's?

 
Old 07-19-2011, 08:27 PM   #2
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

That shuffling gait could be NPH... Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. Mild dementia, urinary problems, and the shuffling gait are the three primary symptoms of NPH. The good thing about NPH is, if caught early, it is very treatable.

Parkinson is also another possibility. Usually there are tremors, shaking, weakness, Later in the disease there are moments of "freeze" as you described accompanied by mild dementia.

From what you have said here it is hard to tell what his problem is. Is there a way to get him to a doctor for a proper diagnosis? This is not just a part of getting old! If it is NPH it is treatable. If it is Parkinson then there are medications that will improve the symptoms. If it is something different there might be a cure or way to improve his situation. So it is best to find out what it is and what can be done about it from a specialist

Love, deb

 
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
That shuffling gait could be NPH... Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. Mild dementia, urinary problems, and the shuffling gait are the three primary symptoms of NPH. The good thing about NPH is, if caught early, it is very treatable.

Parkinson is also another possibility. Usually there are tremors, shaking, weakness, Later in the disease there are moments of "freeze" as you described accompanied by mild dementia.

From what you have said here it is hard to tell what his problem is. Is there a way to get him to a doctor for a proper diagnosis? This is not just a part of getting old! If it is NPH it is treatable. If it is Parkinson then there are medications that will improve the symptoms. If it is something different there might be a cure or way to improve his situation. So it is best to find out what it is and what can be done about it from a specialist

Love, deb
I never heard of NPH, but after googling it and looking for videos on youtube showing patients with NPH... looks EXACTLY how my dad walks. My dad lives in Thailand and I'm in Hawaii. I'm planning to fly there soon. But thank you so much for your response. He has chronic high blood pressure, so I think it could have contributed him developing NPH.

 
Old 07-19-2011, 10:06 PM   #4
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

Chronic high blood pressure is not a cause of NPH. NPH is caused by excessive fluid around the brain. To correct the problem a shunt is placed to drain off some of the fluid. It is a rather simple procedure and improvements may come quickly if it is in the early stages. Hopefully you will be able to get a diagnosis and treatment for him

Love, deb

PS.. you live in a beautiful place. I was in Oahu in 2009 and it was amazing!

 
Old 07-20-2011, 12:51 PM   #5
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tatsu15 View Post
My father is 74 and I don't know what his diagnosis is. He sufffers from chronic high blood pressure, but he started to have a shuffling walk and he tells me sometimes his legs will freeze up (he can't move them)for 15 minutes. And it's only in his legs. He stutters when he talks sometimes too. He old me his doctor told him old men get it... so I don't know what his diagnosis is. Does it sound like Alzheimer's?
Hi, Deb has explained your father's conditions wonderfully. She is such an expert!

I just want to address this issue about Alzheimer's and leg issues.
As most of us who have seen this in our loved ones, Alzheimer's elders in moderate/late stage do have problems walking. The brain would gradually forget about walking. But the person can use a cane or a walker in moderate stage to balance hmself; in very late stage like stage 7, the person may use the walker but cannot turn the walker. Eventually he will need a wheelchair.
This happens in very late stage when the elder stops walking.
Also before this, one has to see lots of evidence of loss memory. Speech problem happens in very late stage too.

So your father may have other conditions. The walking problem with Alzheimer's is consistent with the stage, so freezing legs for 15 minutes sounds like other conditions.

The doctor needs to diagnose him properly first.
He may not have dementia at all.

Take care,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 07-20-2011 at 01:01 PM.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

For awhile I thought my Dad may have NPH. I couldn't convince the doctors and they claim they didn't see that sort of thing in the MRI.

I just wanted to add, what about TIA's? (mini-strokes) I am TOTALLY convinced that my dad has experienced at least 2-3 of these. One, as of recent as this very week. Strokes effect speech and from what I see, walking.

This week my dad started walking leaning toward the left.

Anyway, just wanted to jump in in case that's a possibility.

gogo

 
Old 07-21-2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

Strokes usually affect one side or the other and can affect any part of the body depending on where the stroke is in the brain. If the stroke is on the right it will affect the left side and vice versa. It is unusual for it to take away the ability to talk in both legs without major effects to the rest of the body as well. The effects of TIAs usually go away in a short time and do not cause permanent damage. Strokes are more likely to show in MRIs than TIAs.

Sometimes NPH is difficult to diagnose. It is best to involve a neurologist or neurosurgeon in the diagnosis. If there is no evidence on the MRI there are still other test that can be used to determine the pressure present and if surgery would relieve the symptoms.

Mom does have Alzheimer's. I have noticed that she sometimes leans when she walks as well. It was always to the right until one day it was definitely to the left. It is assumed, though not proven, that her Alzheimer's has affected her sense of center.

Love, deb

 
Old 07-22-2011, 05:39 PM   #8
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Re: Does Alzheimer's affect legs?

Hello Tatsu 15!

Saw your posting.
Where in Oahu do you live? My son lives in Kailua for 4 yrs now.
He moved from central ca......He loves it there and wants us to move also
How long have you lived there and do you like it?

Sorry about your dad..he is so young.
I just lost both my parents this year.
dad in Jan...and mom in june
They lived a good long life ...dad 92 and mom almost 90
Have you thought of taking your dad to a geriatic neurolgist?

Take care
Chris


 
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