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Worried wife
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An_244394 posted:
My husband has had migraine headaches almost everyday of his life, he has had every medicine available, every test to rule out most diseases and has been to pain management centers that did not work for him. First question is; can migraine headaches cause Alzheimer's?

He is 58, is he too young for Alzheimer's ?

He is extremely forgetful, very irritable,has lost over 20 lbs in less than a year (he was already thin),confused about simple tasks, showers a lot less frequent, loss of sex drive, gets mad and frustrated very easily, has a lot of accidents, it's difficult to explain things to him and have him comprehend,driving a car is difficult for him without him running into something. After reading some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's , I think I should be concerned but I thought he was too young for it.

Last week he was terminated from his job. They gave him no reason other than it's a business decision. He had over $60,000.00 of medical expenses last year because of migraines, I think his employer knew something was not right with him. He could not get all his work completed in a 40 hour work week and was working approximately 70 hours a week. He was salaried so they used and abused him for about 7 months straight. That is when I started noticing extreme differences in his behavior.

My questions are; should we have him tested for Alzheimer's and if so, what kind of doctor do we see? What kind of tests will they do?

I look forward to receiving a reply. I am very concerned. Thank you
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cjh1203 responded:
I'm very sorry about what's been going on with your husband, and that he lost his job. I know that's a terrible worry.

Unfortunately, 58 is not too young for Alzheimer's. Someone who develops the disease before age 65 has early-onset Alzheimer's. That form of Alzheimer's can be hereditary -- has anyone in his family developed Alzheimer's at an early age?

As far as I know, no direct connection has been found between migraines and Alzhzeimer's, although I think that is being studied.

Your post reminded me of something I heard about ten years ago that concerned me because, until I went through menopause, I had migraines several days a week. A study had found that migraines could greatly increase the possibility of developing brain lesions . Alzheimer's is apparently one of a group of brain lesion types.

Has your husband had brain scans to look for things like tumors and lesions?

Another thing to look into is his medications. It might be good to take all of them to a pharmacist, and see if he/she thinks that any of them -- or a combination of them -- might be causing his symptoms.

The miserable situation at work, including the extremely long hours, in the past several months could certainly account for some of the changes in his behavior -- it could have at least exacerbated problems he was already having. Stress like that can have a huge effect on memory, mood, concentration, etc., not to mention depression.

A neurologist is probably the best kind of doctor to see about your suspicions of Alzheimer's. There is no definitive test for it, but it can usually be diagnosed with some certainty by listening to symptoms, looking at brain scans and doing cognitive testing, which usually consists of fairly simple questions and problem-solving.

My heart goes out to you. I hope you'll stay in touch and let us know what you find out.

Carol
 
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Moonshine72 replied to cjh1203's response:
Dear Carol,

Thank you so much for your reply. We have requested all his medical records and copies of MRI from 8 years ago and most recent MRI within last year. Can they review the 2 MRI's, compare the two and see if there is a change in brain? Would that be an indication?

Thank you, Worried wife
 
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cjh1203 replied to Moonshine72's response:
Hi Moonshine. I'm not a medical professional, but I would think that being able to compare MRI's from several years apart would be very helpful.

Have you been able to set up any appointments for him?

Please let us know how things are going.

Carol
 
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Judith L London, PhD replied to Moonshine72's response:
Hi Moonshine72,

I agree with Carol in that it's great that you have the previous MRI scans to compare with a new one. There are so many medications involved in managing constant migraine headaches that checking out the side effects and interactions with other drugs he may be taking is a must.

Unfortunaely, early-onset Alzheimer's can occur below the age of 65,. Intense and prolonged migraine headaches may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's because the brain is more susceptible, according to a workshop I attended yesterday with Dr. Michael Lara.

Hope you can find out what's going on.

We're with you,

Judy
 
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Moonshine72 replied to Judith L London, PhD's response:
Thank you Judy, that was what I feared. We almost hesitate getting this checked out. He lost his job, we have no insurance, if we get this diagnosed as a possibility, he may not be able to get insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

How would someone go about getting disability for this? I don't see how he can ever work as an engineer again. He has his good days when he functions okay, but employers want consistency with engineering. Thanks again, Moonshine72. ( by the way, the name is after my white cat, I am really not an alcoholic on Moonshine, lol)
 
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cjh1203 replied to Moonshine72's response:
Hi Moonshine. In case Judy isn't around, I wanted to give you this link . It gives you information about applying for disability and a place to apply online.

I know that keeping your husband's insurance under COBRA would be horribly expensive (my husband and I have had to go that route a few times), but is there any way you can pay for it for a couple of months while you explore your options? It would at least give you both uninterrupted coverage, which would mean that pre-existing conditions may not be an issue.

You might check out AARP's insurance coverage -- I don't know anything about it, but maybe they would have something that would at least cover big expenses. Contacting a local insurance agent might be very helpful, too, because you could talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of a situation like yours.

All of this is quite scary, I know. I'm sorry that you and your husband are going through it and hope you can get some good news somewhere along the line.

Carol


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