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Is it Alzheimer's?
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An_243919 posted:
I am 56 and my husband is 62. 2 years ago he had 2 grand map seizures out of the blue. Sense then he has seen a psychologist for testing, sees a neurologist regularly, has been put on medication to control the seizures. He is on ss disability and long term disability because he can not do his job as a vocational counselor any more. The neurologist has mentioned Alzheimer's as a possibility but said there is no test to diagnose it. This has been going os sense 2009. He has given him Aricept and other medications for memory loss but my husband can't tolerate any, so far. He functions just ok. Has poor problem solving skills now, loses things, has trouble handling finances, forgets things like flushing the toilet ( which would mortify him if he knew), gets confused as to where he is at when he drives in our little town we've lived in for over 30 years. It is so hard to watch and not know how to help or what the future holds. I feel that if I just knew what was wrong I could better prepare. He has lost a lot of confidence in his ability to do so many things so I try to just cover for him and don't like to tell him the things he is "missing". I don't know if that is the right thing to do for him and I feel very alone sometimes. How long before a diagnosis can be made so we will know how to prepare for the future?
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cjh1203 responded:
Your situation sounds so sad, especially when you and your husband are relatively young.

I didn't realize that seizures and Alzheimer's can be related, but apparently they can. Here's a short article about it.

His symptoms certainly sound like Alzheimer's, but there are other dementias and conditions that could cause some of the same symptoms. There isn't any definitive test for Alzheimer's, and the diagnosis is usually made based primarily based on symptoms. Here's an article about diagnosis. It sounds like your husband has been evaluated pretty thoroughly, and the neurologist has used all of that information, including his symptoms, to come to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Since his symptoms appeared before age 65, it would be considered early-onset Alzheimer's.

I think you're probably handling him in the best way, as far as not pointing out things that he may not be doing correctly, or that he may be missing. Knowing that his mind is letting him down in those instances would probably only distress him.

I'm sure this has occurred to you, and it's an extremely difficult thing to deal with, but it doesn't sound like he should be driving. He could be dangerous to himself and to others if he gets confused. You might be able to enlist his doctor's help in dealing with that. Also, if you click on "tips" and "resources" in the upper left part of this page, I think there may be some information there.

Probably the most important thing you can do is try to find an Alzheimer's Association support group to join. You won't feel nearly as alone, and you can get a lot of emotional support and practical advice from others who have been through the same things.

Also, please post here as often as you want or need to. Someone will always respond and give you whatever help you need.

Best wishes.

Carol
 
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Judith L London, PhD responded:
What an upsetting situation for you and your husband.

Has he been screened for depression? Whether or not he has Alzheimer's. if he is depressed, medications may help.

Also, ask the neurologist if your husband may be eligible for a the test that identifies beta amyloid plaques and tau protein, associated with Alzheimer's, in the spinal fluid. It's not 100% accurate but it may help get closer to a diagnosis.There are also indicators in PET scans of the brain.

Have his physician check his vitamin B12 level as well.

The uncertainty really is stressful. Sometimes it's best tp prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. No matter what the outcome, getting the legal documents and advance directives in order is a must. Discuss these issues with your husband to get his input on his wishes.

Definitely find an Alzheimer's support group - it will make all the difference.

We hope that the situation improves,

Judy
 
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Buffgranny replied to Judith L London, PhD's response:
Thank you for your encouragement and suggestions. We saw the neurologist yesterday and we are going to try Exelon and see if he can tolerate that medication. At the end of our visit I ask our Dr. where he thinks we are and what we are up against and he said my husband has type A dementia (not sure what that means) and it "could" be Alzheimer's so . . .still no real answers but I will take the information you gave me on tests that can be done to the Dr. on our next visit. The Dr ordered blood work twice last year and he didn't really give us detailed results but said everything looked ok. My husband, Bill is on anti depressants, a very low dose and seems to doing alright on that. I am not sure how to find a support group in our area. We are a fairly small community but I will check with our local hospital and see if they can direct me.
As far as legal documents, we both have wills. I know his wishes concerning prolonging life but does he need a living will? Is there any other documents we need?
The approach of preparing for the worst but hoping for the best is how I approach most things in life so I'm pretty good at that one. I can face what ever challenges come our way but just knowing would make it a lot easier.
Again, thank you for responding. It has helped so much.
 
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cjh1203 replied to Buffgranny's response:
I know your post is directed at Judy, but I might be able to offer a little help in case she's not around.

Your hospital probably can give you information about support groups, but you can also search for a local group on the Alzheimer's Association site.

Your husband definitely should have a living will and a general Power of Attorney, as well as a medical Power of Attorney. Here's a good article about the legal aspects of life with Alzheimer's.

Hope that helps. I'm like you -- I try to get my ducks in a row, no matter what the challenge. I think it helps give you a feeling that you're able to control at least some aspects of what's going on. It's also a loving thing to do for your husband.

Carol
 
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Buffgranny replied to cjh1203's response:
I was actually responding to both of you. Thank you for your helpful information. Right now it seems like a hard thing to do to talk to my husband about both of the POA's. I'll work on the living will first, just because I have already got one.I am not ready to think of my husband not being with me. One step at a time. My 60 yr old sister passed away last December and I am up to my neck trying to settle her estate without a will. I have a very clear understanding of the mess we leave for our families if we don't prepare. One foot in front of the other. As long as I am moving forward I'm doing ok, right?
 
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cjh1203 replied to Buffgranny's response:
I can understand why you don't want to think about your husband not being there. With any luck, he'll be around for a long time yet.

Maybe you could tell your husband that you've decided to get your own POA's taken care of, and it would make you feel better if he did his at the same time. I know those things can be very tricky.

I'm very sorry about your sister -- 60 is so young. I can't imagine losing one of my sisters. It must be very stressful to have to deal with all of the legal issues in addition to your grief.

You have a lot going on in your life. I hope you're able to find time to do some nice things for yourself.

Carol
 
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587465a responded:
My husband's dementia/alzheimers greatly improved after he started taking coconut oil twice a day. It took about three weeks to start to see slight changes, but now things are a lot better, Check out naturalnews.com and coconut oil.
 
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Buffgranny replied to 587465a's response:
Thank you! I will do that.
 
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Buffgranny replied to cjh1203's response:
I do have an outlet for my anxiety/stress. I run and ride bikes with 2 of my daughters. We do a few running races through out the year and I do one triathlon year. I run 3 times a week on off season. Those endorphins are great for getting your spirits up.
That is a great idea about the POA's.
Thanks so much for your help. I look forward to our discussions.
 
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balmayne1 replied to Buffgranny's response:
Hi, glad to meet you.

Has your husband had the 3 tests for Alzheimer's?

They are:
1 memory test in the neurologist office
2. a blood test
3. A MRI for short-term memory loss

I hope I can be of help to you.

HUGS,
 
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Buffgranny replied to 587465a's response:
Can you give me a little more information on the coconut oil and how he takes it? I think I might like to try it. Thanks Linda


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