I think I am showing signs of dementia but put off by 'friends'

Posted , 5 users are following.

I have, over the past few months, noticed some signs of dementia in myself and have booked a doctor's appointment.  I have had a stressful year and also had what the optician called a 'mini stroke' in my eye for a day, which righted itself the next day and my statins (which I have for high cholesterol) were increased.  I have made a list of things that have really been worrying me - some are dangerous, like forgetting that I was cooking, and fat about to catch fire, forgetting that I had put something into a microwave which only needed a few seconds but I put it in for a minute and immediately forgot it until smoke came billowing out, even forgetting for a second how to dip my headlights in the car (I have driven for 40 years and that has NEVER happened before); not being able to 'keep' things in my mind for more than a second, losing threads of a conversation if I cannot continue without interruption, very often forgetting names of objects (eg - 'you know, the thing you cook things in' - ie saucepan; names of people I have known for years, even of my son etc.  I have an A4 sheet of things that I have noticed to take to the doctor.  What REALLY gets me though is the attitude of people who think THEY are doctors - eg a friend who I haven't seen for years, on the phone when I described what had been happening this year, said, 'Oh, everyone gets like that, it's nothing unusual. You shouldn't make a fuss.'  Someone else saying, 'Well, you don't look as though you have dementia'.  They are making me feel like I'm making it all up and exaggerating and am on the point of cancelling my doctor's appointment.  I know that people get a bit forgetful when they get older but there are so MANY things that are different now.  Then I remember that about 6-7 years ago, I was getting terrible, dreadful symptoms with my bowels and someone said, 'Oh, it's nothing - just have some dry toast'.  I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and have been on strong drugs ever since to alleviate those awful symptoms.  Am I wasting everyone's time with going to the doctor about my 'dementia' worries?  I have just turned 65.  I would appreciate people's views on this.  Is it just something that 'everyone' gets when they get older? 

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  • Posted

    Hi Caracoveney!

    It sounds like you quite worried about this so I would definitely suggest seeing your GP. If it does turn out to be dementia, then it will have been much better that you have caught it earlier, especially as there is no cure for dementia; there are only medications to help slow down its progression. Do not feel bad about wasting Drs time! There are there for you! Dementia is extremely common, about 1in over 20 people over 65 years of age.

    I hope this helps!

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    • Posted

      Thank you kmmed.  I will definitely go keep my appointment as I am rather concerned about the future, as I live alone, and do feel that things have escalated over the past year.  
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  • Posted

    First of all, I am  your age and a retired RN. It could be mild dementia, but it sounds like too much stress and possibly side effects  of too much medication, especially statins. Your brain needs cholesterol, every brain cell is protected with cholesterol. I misplace things and cannot remember where they are, always been that way alittle bit but a real problem now. However I am a caregiver to my husband who has Parkinson's and that is very stressful. Google statin drugs and see what some alternative doctors think of them!

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you Janet.  That is a very good point that you have made.  Something that I forgot(!) to mention, which is actually quite significant, is that I had an eye problem in August - the optician who I rushed to tested me for two hours and found that one of my arteries leading to my eye seemed 'blocked' (my vision in one eye was blocked by a 'hump backed bridge' shape).  The hospital couldn't see me till next morning, but by then it had gone, though it lasted for at least 12 hours.  My GP was informed and my statins were doubled!  I will definitely read up about them as, although I had been feeling more and more concerned about my mind this past year, the silly incidents are increasing.  I am on other medication as well (Methotrexate, Amlodipine, Amytriptyline) and I must say I hadn't considered it being all the medication that may be causing a lot of this.  Difficult to dictate to a doctor, though!!  I will definitely go and see if I get referred where a specialist might be more 'in the know' about it.  But thank you for opening this up a bit for me.
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    • Posted

      I'm a former nurse too and inclined to agree with Janet - especially about the statins. Fortunately, my new GP agrees with me. The last one wanted me to take them because my overall lipids are high, in spite of the fact that my ratio of "good" to "bad" cholesterol is better than average!

      Wondering why you're on amytriptyline? Is it for migraines or depression? If you are depressed, that in itself can make you forgetful.

      Don't feel bad about "bothering" your GP with this. He/she can refer you for testing if necessary to see whether it's really the start of dementia or just the normal forgetfulness of ageing. I worried a lot when I started getting forgetful around the age of 60. However, I'm 71 now and though it's inevitably getting a bit worse I can't say I've really noticed much deterioration.

      I've had a couple of near-misses myself with a chip pan, but now I set a timer just in case I get distracted when I put the oil on to heat. We all have to develop strategies for coping with ageing.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi, I just thought I'd call back in. I'm on the Sjogren's board on this site (it's an auto-immune condition) and by coincidence saw a post on there this morning from someone who's taking multiple medications. She says: "First I had Amlodipine, a calcium blocker which led to physical and mental fatigue..." and that rang a bell. She goes on to say the fatigue was so bad she had to switch to another med.

      Never under-estimate the effect of fatigue on your memory and your ability to cope with daily tasks. Some medications can cause severe fatigue, but this won't necessarily be listed in the "official" side-effects issued by the manufacturer, and your doctor may be unaware of this. Before starting a new medication it's never a bad idea to check out user forums for possible side-effects. People who regularly take a medication often know more about its down side than doctors or pharma companies! (Obviously, this advice doesn't apply to things like antibiotics for infections or any other life-saving medication.)

      As an example, a few months back my doctor prescribed something for my Sjogren's syndrome that really didn't agree with me at all. It caused a massive flare-up of the physical symptoms but - more alarmingly - such terrible fatigue that I had mental symptoms too. I actually got lost one day walking back from the office, ended up sitting on a park bench crying because I couldn't remember how to get home. Needless to say, I stopped taking it after that and recovered from the mental symptoms after a couple of weeks (though the joint, muscle and tendon pains are still with me and probably will be for a while). I clearly should have taken my own advice before rushing into that one!

       

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    • Posted

      To reply to lily65668, the Amyltryptiline was originally to aid sleep when my son became very ill and three months later, my dear mother died suddenly.  The dose was increased as I became very depressed.  This was nearly 4 years ago, and then Methotrexate was added for my Ulcerative Colitis and my Rheumatoid Arthritis, then Atorvastin for high cholesterol.  I had been on Amlodipine anyway for high blood pressure, and the dose of Atorvastin has recently been doubled because of the 'vascular' eye problem.  So, between that lot, there is probably a reason why I DO get mental and physical fatigue!  Your situation where you didn't know how to get home must have been so distressing, and thankfully you were able to 'pinpoint' the drug that caused it.  I fear that mine may be a combination of 'this and that' as I haven't felt a distinct change following the addition of each new drug. I am definitely more 'fogged up' than I was years ago, but age or drugs?  I guess the best thing is for my GP to refer me on to a specialist who might be able to advise if any of these drugs might be exacerbating things, and, together with my GP, make any sensible adjustments.  I have tried to cut down on the Amyltryptiline, but I am finding that difficult as my sleep then gets affected.  Thank you all for your suggestions, and I hope that my brain power starts to reverse before long!
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    • Posted

      Sorry, also meant to say that my dad started getting dementia symptoms after being diagnosed with RA in 2009 and being put on methotrexate injections and prednisone.  No doctor has ever suggested a link though but I am wondering.   I definitely think more needs to be known about the effects of these drugs on memory! 
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  • Posted

    Definitely get checked out by a doctor ASAP.  If it is dementia the earlier it is detected the better as with certain types like Alzheimer's there are drugs that supposedly able to slow its progression.  Also get your doctor to check these symptoms are not caused by your medications! Good luck.

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