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Old 08-21-2011, 02:02 AM   #1
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Exclamation SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

Hi guys. My 65 year old father has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers and epilepsy in the past week and the past month respectively. I have some questions regarding sudden onset of symptoms.

My father's mother passed away last month. Two days after her death he lost consciousness and fell flat on the tile floor. We had trouble waking him up and after he awoke, he could not remember that his mother had passed away. He was admitted to hospital with a concussion. For the following four days or so, he was very confused. He could not concentrate when we spoke with him and kept looking towards the patient in the bed next to him. He still did not remember that his mother passed away. Also, he was quite adamant that we was hiring his hospital room and that he hired it with four chairs, but now there is only one! Luckily all these symptoms subsided over the next few days and the drs decided to discharge him. The drs did an EEG and MRI before he was discharged. EEG showed no abnormalities, while MRI also showed nothing significant. They told us that his hypertension meds could've played a role in his hospitalization, and that his blood pressure most probably suddenly fell, causing him to pass out. Since then, he has been off one of the blood pressure meds, but is still taking another one. His blood pressure is normal now (most of the time).

However, on the day that he was to be discharged, he lost consciousness and slumped over in his bed. After this "seizure" he had trouble remembering things we told him less than a minute before. The drs then revised their EEG findings and said that they did find some small abnormalities. MRI also suddenly indicated brain shrinkage. It was then that they diagnosed my dad with epilepsy. He stayed another few days in hospital and was then discharged.

On a routine visit to the doctor, his blood pressure was dangerously high (195/105) and he was immediately admitted to hospital. Dr also ordered a psychiatrist to visit him, regarding my grandmother's death. The psych ordered some testing by a neuropsychologist. Neuropsych then diagnosed my father with Alzheimers. We were glad to know what was wrong with him and to start a treatment plan, but some questions still remain.

Although the family has seen a slight decline in my father's cognitive abilities the past few months, he was still working and did not show any major symptoms of memory loss. Maybe we missed the symptoms, or he hid it..... However, three days ago my father could not remember that he saw a neuropsych of psych while he was in the hospital. This struck us as odd, as we was still talking about these drs a few days before. Last night, he started to experience severe short term memory loss (the same as right after he had the seizure in hospital) where he kept asking us about his car's battery and about going to church. We would answer him, and he would keep asking the same question. This has never happended before, except for when he had the fit in hospital. My dad has also complained about headaches for the past year or so. This morning, we asked my dad to get dressed for church. He would go to his room and just stand/sit there. We kept having to remind him to finish dressing. He would put on his shirt and walk around, and we would again remind him. This is also a new symptom. He has been able to dress himself without assistance since he was discharged from hospital. I also noticed that his left foot is dragging along the floor. Is it possible that my dad could actually be suffering from transient ischemic attacks or some other vascular activity not showing up on MRI?

My question is: is it normal for Alzheimers symptoms to appear/worsen so suddenly? All of these short term memory symptoms started after his concussion. We are not convinced that Alzheimers is the correct diagnosis. Has anyone experienced the same symptoms?

P.S. The drs did suggest that my dad showed some signs of Parkinsons (such as not walking straight). Since the "fit" in hospital my dad hasn't experienced any more epilepsy symptoms.

Please guys! I would greatly appreciate your opinions.

 
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:45 AM   #2
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

Joey, Like you I think I would be suspect of the diagnosis. The statement that bothered me when when you said the left foot was dragging along the floor. That symptom is not normally seen with the Alzheimer's or the Epilepsy diagnosis. Revised MRI and EEG findings are also suspect. A diagnosis of Epilepsy after one "seizure" is also suspect. Epilepsy is defined as repeated and spontaneous seizures of any type. The diagnosis in no way gives a reason for what is happening. It is one of those diagnosis that just describes the symptoms. It is also possible that the loss of consciousness was something other than a seizure. Not to mention the mental confusion being related to whatever is going on with the episodes rather than being Alzheimer's. My best guess is that there is not enough information, test, investigation, or study yet to know exactly what is going on.

My question is, how was your father's memory prior to him passing out a month ago? Did you see any memory problems, behavioral changes, or other suspect symptoms? Did he repeat himself, have trouble with numbers, have a change in personality? If he had symptoms, then had a medical episode combined with the death of his mother, it might be possible for his memory symptoms to worsen. But the "seizure" came first which seems to indicate something else is going on. It's hard to tell what caused what and what is a result of what.

Have they repeated the MRI? Does he have any heart or vascular conditions? I'm with you... I would suspect the diagnosis. Is there a way you can get a second opinion and the MRI repeated. That is a lot of diagnosis based on a MRI that is borderline.

Love, deb

 
Old 08-21-2011, 10:45 AM   #3
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

i am sorry for what you are going through. his blood pressure was so high. could he have had strokes

 
Old 08-21-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

Hi Gabriel.

In response to your question regarding previous memory problems/symptoms: my dad has been under a lot of financial stress the past year and was more emotional than usual (I really think that this was due to his stress, though - nothing out of the ordinary). Otherwise, he just experienced some symptoms that we described as being absent-minded. An example includes driving to the store but taking a wrong turn. When we alert him to this, he would quickly apologize and acknowledge the mistake.

Debbie, thank you very much. My mother and I both seem to think that TIA's could play a role in his memory loss/confusion. My father has suffered chronic hypertension for as long as I could remember, but suddenly his blood pressure is normal and maybe a bit low at times.

I would also like to inform y'all that my father had multiple episodes of extreme dizziness today when he could not even sit down in a chair without assistance. Along with this, he also stumbled a bit on his feet. I immediately took his blood pressure to see if it may be hypotension, but his BP was 143/78. The dr says that a normal BP for him should be 143/80, so I guess we are not far off. He told me today that he does not feel like himself, which is very saddening:-( Dad also had a repeat of yesterday's forgetfulness and told us the same story three times in a matter of 30 minutes. We are seeing the dr tomorrow and will be raising our concerns with her as well. I will keep you guys updated. This is truly a great board. Thank you so much for your support!

 
Old 08-21-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

Yes, the symptoms previous to his episode/seizure could well be related to stress. It just seems to me that there is more to the story than dementia. It could be vascular dementia which is stoke related. But that is a result of cardio vascular problems in the brain and not the same as Alzheimer's. I would be curious to know why, after many years of hypertension, his blood pressure returned to normal ranges? That is not something that happens spontaneously. I would absolutely ask for a follow up MRI or a CT scan to get a second opinion.

One thing that does intrigue me. The hypothalamus is where Alzheimer's usually starts... and new research shows that this may be the part of the brain that controls our blood pressure. Just an interesting correlation of fact that you have given

Please do let us know what you find out from his doctor... and if you are not completely satisfied with the results know that you can always ask for a second opinion

Love, deb

 
Old 08-22-2011, 08:27 AM   #6
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Update on dad's condition

Hi guys. My dad was supposed to see the dr today, but surprised us all with a seizure at 04:00am. Symptoms: a screaming sound through his teeth followed by rigidity and clenching on teeth. He then lost consciousness and laboured breathing started - almost like apnea. This lasted for a g.ood 30 minutes and by the time the ambulance got here, dad couldn't stick out his tongue or clench his fists. Paramedic said that the symptoms looked more like a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) than epilepsy. Dad was quite confused afterwards :-( He was admitted to hospital and his dr said that the whole episode was due to an allergy to his indapamide meds, which absolutely does not make any sense. After telling the personnel that he suffered a droopy/lazy foot, they ordered an MRI to be done on the cerebellum.

When we went to visit dad this afternoon, we were informed that he had another seizure. It was the same as this morning and they moved him to ICU. He's connected to EEG machine, and all the other fancy stuff to measure vitals. Afterwards he was VERY disoriented and confused. Literally could not remember what you told him 30 seconds ago. However, this seemed to get a little better. I am wondering if the dr will still tell us that he suffered an allergic reaction Hopefully the MRI will shed some light on this.

What I am wondering, is if his memory lapses could be due to seizures and not Alzheimers at all. I still find it hard to believe that he has Alzheimers. The dr did however note earlier this morning that he has "quite advanced Alzheimers". How on earth can a new diagnosis of Alzheimers progress to "quite advanced" in 4 weeks?!! Do you guys think that it's possible that his "weird" symptoms the past few days may have been a precursor to last night's seizure? I'm sorry for all these questions - I guess I should put this post on an epilepsy board.

 
Old 08-22-2011, 11:29 AM   #7
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

Hi, I just wanted to add two things that you might look into too, when my husband got confused sometimes he had a UTI and had to be put on anti-biotics and sometimes when people get dizzy or faint they could be dehydrated and need more water. Just a suggestion. I hope you father didn't have a stroke. His mother's death could have really upset him too and then he fell. Tell us what the doctor's say. Best wishes.

 
Old 08-22-2011, 05:26 PM   #8
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

What you describe doesn't sound like Alzheimer's to me Joey.... I am with the paramedics on this one. It will be interesting to see what the new MRI tells you. At this point I just hope you get answers to your questions.

Beyond that, with indapamide, the type of reaction you saw would be caused by a decreased sodium level. It's not an allergic reaction bot a chemical imbalance in the body.

I'm with you.... doesn't sound like Alzheimer's at all.

I would suggest that you get a second opinion!

Love, deb

 
Old 08-27-2011, 11:21 AM   #9
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

First of all, thank you everyone for sharing your opinions. It is so nice to have a sounding board to help me clarify my thoughts! Now, for an update on Dad:

Drs said that his seizures were due to his electrolyte levels being out of whack, and that the indapamide caused this. He also suffered a period of delirium during his stay in ICU. He has been moved to the medical ward and drs are in process of sorting out his medicine to prevent this from happening again, and they are also working on stabilizing his electrolyte levels (especially potassium). Although drs are 100% sure he has some type of dementia, he has also been diagnosed by anterograde amnesia (caused by the severe electrolyte imbalance). He has absolutely zero ability of learning new information and retaining it, but this should resolve with time. It also seems that he is experiencing sundowning syndrome. Drs are treating this medically - if that is even possible! I will keep you updated on the type of dementia and his overall progress.

 
Old 08-27-2011, 06:47 PM   #10
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

yes it does now sound like dementia with other problems. i so feel for you. hope you are taking deep breaths and praying. debbie

 
Old 08-27-2011, 10:53 PM   #11
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Re: SUDDEN worsening in short term memory

What the doctor makes sense if there was an overdose of the indapamide. Just hope they can get his electrolytes back in balance, the medication regulated, and his symptoms improve! At least you have an explanation that makes sense and something to work with. I do hope that your Dad begins to feel much better!! I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers... and keep us updated on his progress

Love, deb

 
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