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Holistic approaches versus meds?

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Old 01-08-2009, 05:41 PM   #1
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Holistic approaches versus meds?

Hi All. 80 year old Mum is exhibiting all the signs of alzhiemers, and we estimate the condition at stage 4+. Just started getting going with treatment and making new living arrangements.

Doctors first prescribed Aricept. Discontinued due to shortness of breath. Then tried Namenda as a first line - Discontinued due to shortness of breath. Then tried excelon, and basically discontinued that ourselves after 1 day after getting on the excelon web site and reading that patients with tremors, body weight less than 110lbs. and a history of fainting spells were high risk for serious side effects like anorexia, worse tremors and more fainting.

Everything I can gather Aricept,Namenda,Excelon all have very low efficacy anyway. She's totally DC'd all alzhiemer meds and we need to give her body a rest as too many meds are coming in and going out after a recent hospital stay for double dosing on thyroid and lipid meds. But after a month we want to try again - perhaps the excelon patch for another go, perhaps with more holistic approaches.

Any thoughts or links to share? Thanks.

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Old 01-08-2009, 09:44 PM   #2
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Re: Holistic approaches versus meds?

Welcome to the forum lairdwd. Sorry you needed to find us but glad you did. You have ask an interesting question that I am battling with myself. You are right that the three meds you mentioned are the only medications approved for dementia. They don't work for long, only promise to slow the progress, and do have side effects. There are three on the board now that have taken their loved ones off these medications because of side effects and I have a call request to Mom's doctor now to do the same. There is also one that is using a different approach with some success. He is using Galantamine which is the generic name for a medication which was originally an Eastern European medication which is derived from specific bulbs and flower. Check out the threads "Bad day rant" and "Galantamine for information on those.

I am not sold on the Medicaion approach. It does not stop or cure the disease, only prolongs it. If given early enough I do see benefits of maintaining good cognition if the side effects are minimal. The problem is that we don't have a way to diagnose the disease early enough. Why would we want to prolong life if the quality is not there?

As for Holistic approaches.... Mom took them all. I can't say if they helped or not. There is no way of knowing if they slowed the progress. Most do no harm and have minimal side effect though. The worst they can do is give you expensive pee.

I have probably raised more questions than given answers. We are not allowed to post web links on this forum but I am sure you can do web searches to come up with information on anything specific that you might know of. Just beware of sites that try to sell you something. They do have ulterior motives. If there is something specific you have in mind post it here and somebody will have some information to share.

Again, sorry you are dealing with this disease but welcome to our little corner of the world. You will find lots of friends here who are dealing or have dealt with exactly what you are dealing with now. There is a wealth of experience, sharing, caring, and compassion here. So keep typing your questions and experiences.

Love, deb

Old 01-09-2009, 07:22 AM   #3
Martha H
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Re: Holistic approaches versus meds?

I am a strong believer in living a healthy life. My mother did get Dementia, but not until she was in her early 90s. She ate a healthy diet, was not overweight, exercised (she went swimmng until she was 95), walked, and above all had a sunny disposition. No feeling sorry for herself, no blaming others, she looked for the best in every day, and in that way avoided being on any prescription drugs until she had an episode of heart failure at age 93. The 6 prescription drugs she took after that led to dementia within 3 months. This is my personal opinion, not the doctor's.

I too try to lead a healthy life, eat based more on fruits and vegetables than on meat and fat, exercise every day, and stay positive. My mother was my role model. I am approaching 70 and do not take any presription drugs. I do use St John's Wort as an antidepressive when the days are short and there is no sunshine here in northern Indiana where we have a lot of snow.

I also have a strong religious faith and pray instead of worrying.

I recommend you stay away from anti Alzheimer drugs until one comes out that can really do something. Meanwhile a little curcumin (sp?) on her foods may have a positive effect. This spice is used in India and other Asian nations where there is a very low rate of Alzheimer's disease.

Good luck!



Last edited by Martha H; 01-09-2009 at 07:22 AM. Reason: sp

Old 01-09-2009, 01:56 PM   #4
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Re: Holistic approaches versus meds?

I love your outlook and philosophy on life martha... you are definitely an inspiration and I am following your lead. I smiled when you said your Mom swam until 95. I wish I had a facility to swim so I ride my bike instead. I had a dear friend, taught me all I know about swimming, diving, life guarding etc that was still swimming well into his mid 90's. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face thinking of him....

Love, deb

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