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    Old 07-30-2006, 08:53 AM   #1
    marktasia
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    Question about Brain atrophy

    Hi all,

    Iím 42 year old male new here and have a question. First let me tell you what happened.
    Last December I fell in my bathroom and had to go to the ER. I had severe pain from the fall but already had a pain condition and the Doctors wanted to make sure I didnít break a bone in my back or skull due to my symptoms and ran a CT scan w/o contrast.
    No broken bones or blood clot on brain showed so after treating me and stabilizing a mild heart problem they sent me home with a nice bill (no medical insurance).

    The pain condition that I have had for about three years now has worsened and I noticed some new symptoms such as short term memory loss and times of confusion and anxiety. I had tried all the over the counter pain meds for three years with no relief and although scared to take anything stronger, I decided to go and see a Doctor to see about getting a mild prescription pain med for those bad days and to find out what is causing the pain as CT didnít show anything in my back or neck area which is where the most pain is and now getting some headaches.

    The day before my Doctor appointment I decided to go to the hospital to pick up my records to have with me so the Doctor wouldnít feel the need to run new ones with me not having much money for medical and when I got my records I noticed on the Brain Scan they failed to mention the fact that it show something called ďMild diffuse cerebral and cerebellar atrophy with no evidence of hemorrhage or edemaĒ
    I had a Brain scan about 15 years ago for something else and nothing unusual showed up so this is something new and my Doctor that I took this report to said that because I have no medical insurance, that he would treat my symptoms for now and if I get worse would need to do more tests so he gave me an anti seizure type tranquilizer medication and a pain medication to use only when having real bad pain and not to use everyday.

    Has anyone ever heard of brain atrophy in a 42 year old before and if so, what causes it and is that causing my memory loss. My Doctor didnít say if it was causing memory loss. In fact, I canít remember if I even told him about the memory loss part or not.

    Thanks

     
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    Old 07-30-2006, 10:36 AM   #2
    fallenleaf
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    write down all your questions, call your doctor and ask to speak with the nurse. Ask her all your questions and concerns, write down what she tells you, or put her on speaker phone and have a friend listen with you. Anything she can't answer she should be able to ask the doctor about and call u back.

    The phone call is free!

    Also, u should take a friend or family member with you to your appointments so they can help remember questions to ask and what the doctor told you.

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 04:55 AM   #3
    marktasia
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Hi fallenleaf

    I have an appointment this Friday to see my Doctor and although I canít get anyone to go with me this time, I am writing things down. In fact, a really scary thing happened to me yesterday when I couldnít remember if I ate anything and if I did what it was so I had to ask the person I live with if I ate and was told yes and what it was and then it came back to me but my mind was a total blank about what I had to eat until it was mentioned to me.
    I do have a pill case that I put my meds in so I know what days and how much to take. I have a mild heart condition and few other little things.

    My grandfather developed Parkinsons in his late 50s and eventually had Alzheimers from what they thought but back then they didnít have the firm tests to fully diagnose the Alzheimers.
    To my knowledge he didnít have any problems under the age of 55 and Iíve not heard of anyone getting Alzheimers at 42 although have heard of people younger than that getting Parkinsons like that Movie actor Mike J Fox.

    Do you know of the things that would cause this brain atrhophy? Iím sure the diseases my grandfather had would probably cause it but I donít have a tremor and sure hope donít have Alzheimers at my age.

    Thanks

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 06:31 AM   #4
    feelbad
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    hey mark.you know,you may want to look into the real specifics of your grandfathers illness and find out about onset and symptoms and if any other family memebers along the way showed any actual signs or symptoms of any possible'brain' issues.

    because I do have some possible cerebellar issues as well in my brain,among other crappy things,i did just a bit of research on cerebral and cerebellar atrophy,and quite honsetly,there are a few different causes but the most predominant I kept running across was that this type of condition(that aprticular type of atrophy and location?) was caused by a familial type of condition.these are called autosomal dominant whcih means that this should be popping up in every generation.the only reason I know what that particular word means is that my family sufferes from an autosomal dominat kidney disease and IS and has been passed from generation to generation.thats what autosomal dominant means.only one parent has to have it in order to pass it on.

    i really would look much further into researching this.i could really not find any other real explanation for your condition other than the ADtype ones that were all familial in nature.

    i have to ask just exactly what sort of symptoms are you having,i mean all or any symptoms.I am wondering mostly because you don;t mention any sort of actual gait or coordination problems which(because of my cerebellar involvement)i know is normally there when there is a problem within the cerebellar part of the brain.itas called ataxia.but since your case appears to be "mild' things may not have actually progressed to that point.

    now the memeory issues i don't know too much regarding the cerbral portion of the brain,maybe this is related to that,but this symptom would be unlikely from the cerebellar standpoint,you know what I mean?

    That scan you had 15 years ago,was it an MRI or just a CT.a CT would not actually show all of the brain structures so it would be possible that this could have been there since birth but not picked up back on the CT.I am assuming you recently had an MRI and this then did show up?its hard to say without knowing just what was actually done.

    i really would start asking some questions of all family members on both sides of your family just to be sure that you did not get this from the opposite side of the grandfather that had the 'parkingsons"this may or may not be a familial type of thing but you really do need to look into this a bit further.

    I was just a bit suprised that they really didn't offer too many other ways that these two areas would atophy like they are other than these familial ataxias and other auto types of conditons/diseases.

    i hope this turns out to be something a but less ominous than what I was reading and things will stabilize for you.i do wish you luck in all this too.please keep me posted on everything,K? Marcia
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    Old 07-31-2006, 03:22 PM   #5
    marktasia
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Hi feelbad

    I do have a pretty good idea of family history. In fact, my maternal grandmother is still alive and my grate grandmother lived until I was 4 years old.
    The grand father that had Parkingsons was my paternal grandfather and he was healthy his whole life until after 55 years old he developed a tremor in his hand and arm and when he finally went to the Doctor about a year later he was diagnosed with Parkingsons and he progresses pretty fast with that which affected his whole body eventually. He started having memory problems that were first said to be from the Parkingsons until he got to the point where he couldnít recognize family members and then the Doctors said he likely also had Alzhimers but the only definitive way to determine 100% was by autopsy after death at the time. There was no autopsy performed so we never knew 100% but he got to where he didnít know anyone or anything. In fact, I quit my job to take care of him full time so he wouldnít have to go into a nursing home.
    He had no heart problems or cancer.
    His wife my paternal grandmother whom I also cared for when she became ill was in great health with no problems other than arthritis until she developed small cell lung cancer said to have been due to her smoking years earlier but she had quit for 20 years before she got sick and she was 74 when diagnosed and lived 9 months. Her brothers and sisters all lived to 82-87 years old with no serious health problems until very late in life. One had pancreatic cancer at age 81 died at 82. My father is still living and has no serious health problems.
    My paternal grandparents parents: Grate grandmother died of a stroke in older age and great-grandfather died at 86 due to liver problem from heavy drinking. He drank until the week he died. No cancers or brain problems.

    On my mothers side, she has some health problems but nothing with brain and her mother my grandmother is still living and will be 81 this year. This grandmother has a heart condition and other various illnesses due to her age.
    Her siblings did have a lot of cancers from liver to brain cancer in her brother on the later.
    Her mother who was the great-grandmother I remember died at 82 years old in 1968 from
    peritonitis due to a non cancer problem. Her husband died before I was born from a lot of mini strokes that finally ended up in a big stroke.

    As far as my three siblings, two are healthy but the youngest which is my little sister has type one diabetes but I am negative on that.

    As far as my symptoms: Three years or so of increased back and neck pain so bad some days canít get out of bed. Very tired all the time and this is increasing. Weight fluctuations sometimes as much as 10 lbs in a 24 hour period which I think is fluid retention but have been losing weight. In fact, lost about 30lbs this year and my Doctor noticed that with out me telling him because the muscles in my arms are about gone and he said if I had insurance he would have me in phsyical therapy.
    I do lose my balance sometimes which is why I fell last December but my gait doesnít seem to be different although there are some days that my speech is slurred and people think I have been drinking but am not drinking and do have some difficulty swallowing which seems to have increase over the last year. Very hard to swallow things like meat, bread, or large pills.
    Hate to admit this on a message board but twice in the last month I did wet myself in my sleep and I have never done that before and did have some cold night sweats especially around my neck. Night sweats seems to have gone away.
    The CT I had 15 years ago was done with out contrast like this past one and nothing showed on it insofar as atrophy but I realize the CT scans today are probably different.

    I do have a positive TB due to work in health care. I used to be negative and then ended up testing positive and took medications but had to interrupt those medications for a while due to a surgery to remove polyps on my vocal cord so not sure how that works when you have an interruption like that with that type of medication. Vocal cord looked like cancer when they took a look but turned out no cancer. I did smoke for years so was at higher risk.

    I do have that minor heart problem that is more related to a Mitral Valve with some PVCs and fast heart rate up to 200 with out medication while resting which I take the beta blocker for.
    In fact, when I had to go to a hospital years ago for the heart thing the emergency people got a heart rate on me at 220 and they swore I had done some drugs which I have never done but when I got to the hospital, they found out through my blood that I had nothing but did have an elevated cardiac enzyme and of course was put on medication right away to bring that heart rate down

    Thatís about all I can think of but that is a lot LOL

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 03:32 PM   #6
    marktasia
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    I should note that my work in health care is not in an area that I would have a lot of knowledge of illnesses because I just type in forms. Wish I did have a better knowledge of illnesses because that would help me a lot with this I think.
    I basically do typing and am having to work from home because am too weak to leave the house much anymore.

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 05:10 PM   #7
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Hi, My s/o neuro mentioned loss of control of bladder. I think it may have been a symptom of parkinson's I'm not sure. But it was a symptom of something Neuro I know. Please tell your doctor about that. Sorry I'm not more help.

     
    Old 07-31-2006, 05:10 PM   #8
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Mark
    I have brain atrophy,considered cortical atrophy,bilateraly effecting the occipital regions plus a little other areas,I'm 40.My vision stinks.I have lossed some vision near and far in the last year.Mine is caused by multiple sclerosis.
    Even though your limited on medical , you really need to seek a specialist dealing with neurological disorders.Many specialist will work with you on payments.
    Making a list of all symptoms big or small helps,its so easy to forget .I forget many things also.I have to write everthing down.I lay my meds out each morning or I'll forget.My brain seems to function best first thing in the morning.
    When I found out I had cortical atrophy,it scared the crap out of me,unlike most muscle atrophy you can gain back,the brain don't work that way.Mine has not progressed since the last MRI which is great and the new glasses have helped.
    Hopefully your Doc will have some answers for you.
    Toni

     
    Old 08-03-2006, 03:28 PM   #9
    marktasia
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Hi everyone,

    Got into Doctor earlier instead of Friday.

    He gave me another physical exam and this time had me do some really strange things like walk up and down the hall and walk up and down a small latter type chair. Iíve never had anything like that done before.
    Due to a list of symptoms that some are noticeable and others simply symptoms he wants to do a blood test to look for a certain type of gene but the blood test is not cheap.

    He said he doesnít want to alarm me but due to the symptoms I give him such as memory loss which he even noticed himself and trouble swallowing which he wants me to have a motility test and a range of other symptoms that it is possible that I might have something called ďhuntington's diseaseĒ but there is no way to confirm this unless I have a certain type of gene or level of something in the gene.

    If I do have this gene then he says that I will need to go on Medicaid right away which he will write a letter and also to neurologist to do more study and also to have the neurologist get me into physical therapy and also speech theory.

    He said that if this is HD that it would be up to a neurologists to provide treatments and that the treatments are mostly to help with symptoms and not to cure the disease.

    Even if it is not HD he said that I am going to have to have an MRI along with another CT. The CT would be put up against the last CT for any changes and he said the MRI is a better tool for many of these type of things.

    Because I have no insurance, I might end up on medicaid anyway which is a shame because I never wanted to have to go on a Government type program but might not have any choice.

    Apparently at my age 42, this disease usually shows up around this time in most people but it is genetic and that one of my parents would have to be carrying the gene.

     
    Old 08-03-2006, 03:39 PM   #10
    marktasia
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    nuffs3,

    Sorry to hear about the MS. I'm not sure which is worse the MS or HD but guess each one is a little different in each person. I think the HD is the one where you lose your mind so if I have HD then I guess, I will end up not knowing who I am which at that point won't matter because I won't know but it would be hard on my family for sure.
    I'm not so much worried that my mind goes as I am about things like pain and just feeling terrible all the time. My muscles have wasted away to practically nothing and I have lost a lot of weight so don't have much strength to even lift a phone book.

    Doctor does think physical therapy could help get some muscle back but I have waited so long to even get moving on symptoms because I really thought they would either just go away or that it was my imagination due to my nerves.

    I am taking a tranquilizer now and do feel calmer but can't take the pain meds everyday at this point for several reasons, one is they might not work as well later if I need them more and also one can get addicted to them if taken everyday and don't want to get addicted to something unless I simply had to.

    What I can't believe is that other than some smoking, I never did drugs or boozed it up like a lot of other people I know and I tired to keep my body in pretty good shape but guess it just depends a lot on genetics.

     
    Old 08-09-2006, 11:55 AM   #11
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Mark,

    Sorry to hear about the possibility of Huningtons,hopefully this Dr is wrong.I have a friend who's mother has HD.
    Hope you get into physical therapy soon.It can help.Don't you worry about being on medicaid,thats what its there for.My muscles atrophied and I had lost weight,with time I have regained strength and put a few pounds back on,but it took a lot of determination and work.You can do it.
    Each disease progresses at different rates,your still young you can fight this.
    Hang in there,thats all I have done was smoke cigs and left all the other stuff alone.Your right it depends on genetic backgrounds and how ones body reacts to its self.Has anyone in the family history ever have HD.I know it can lie recessive and appear at anytime.
    My prayers to you and your family.
    Toni

     
    Old 12-16-2006, 07:29 PM   #12
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    Hi, I am a 31 yr old woman experiencing the same things. I was told last year I had brain atrophy from a cat scan. They said it was due to Bipolar. Now I am having short-term memory loss and ask the same questions over and over. I feel like a broken record at times. I also have high blood pressure, and high cholsterol. I'm on meds for that also. I have a fast heart-rate of 120 at rest. Can someone give me advice on to what is brain atrophy? What causes it? And why do I feel like I am losing my mind at a young age?

     
    Old 12-16-2006, 11:50 PM   #13
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    Re: Question about Brain atrophy

    I too am experiencing many of your symptoms and they directly relate to head injury. DId he check your thyroid levels? I have trouble swallowing and they think it is due to thyroid disease. I eventually had to have my esophagus stretched as it was scarring from chronic GERD and thyroid issues. There are programs out there for those with no insurance, google it and see if you can find some of the sites. Also, get a MRI w/Contrast as it shows if there are lesions that do not always show up on CT or regular MRI. Also, take the pain meds as needed. Do not worry right now about them becoming ineffective. Pain made my memory and cognitive functioning worse. I now have a psychiatrist doing my meds to rotate what we can to avoid what you are concerned about. Good luck, my prayers are with you!
    MimGregg

    Last edited by mim; 12-16-2006 at 11:51 PM.

     
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