New symptoms of vascular dementia

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My husband was diagnosed with vasculer dementia 2 and half years ago, up till now he hasn't been to bad, mainly consentration and working things out from instructions and slight memory loss. But the last 4-5 months he has physicaly gone down hill, his mobility is very bad, he used to love walking every day but now can only do about 100 yards and his balance goes and needs to sit some where, he hangs onto me, also his speech is getting bad, he slurs his words a lot some days more than others. The DR won't say if it's his dementia getting worse but I'm worried that it is and I know hubby is getting upset about it, can anyone tell me if they think it's is a progression of his demeter, I would rather know. He's had physio thereby to try and help his legs but it hasn't helped. His eye sight is getting very bad also but he had eye test about 8 months ago.

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  • Posted

    Stella, you have all my sympathy. I took care of my mother through nine years of vascular dementia, then a close friend for several years after that.

    I'm wondering how old your husband is, and also how old you are. It's difficult dealing with a loved one's dementia when you're not so young yourself.

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    • Posted

      Thankyou for your replyl Lily, my husband is 79 in couple weeks I'm 76.

      I cared for my mum with a different dementia AD and get symptoms were a lot different to this. Did your mum have these symptoms and at what stage was it please. YES it is very hard but some days he is not too bad.

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    • Posted

      Hi Stella,

      I'm speaking partly as a "veteran" of dementia care (my mother, my friend and to a lesser extent my aunt and a friend's mother) and also as a former neuro nurse.

      The first signs of dementia in my mother were entirely different, as in your mother's case, though I can see a partial match with my friend's early dementia symptoms (concentration etc.). However, neither of them exhibited the physical symptoms you're describing until quite late on.

      My mother only started losing mobility five or six years into the disease, but by this time she was in her mid-80s, and I think a lot of it was caused by her reluctance to eat properly. My friend developed a shuffling gait - a bit like the Parkinson's walk, though she didn't have the disease - quite early on, but only lost balance and mobility in the last few months. In any case, I'm convinced this loss was down to the the high doses of antipsychotic drugs they gave her towards the end (because she became aggressive) rather than the dementia. And neither of them had speech problems.

      It does sound to me as if there might be some kind of physical problem as well. I suspect you might be in the UK, where my mother lived and where I had my nursing experience years ago, in which case I fully understand how difficult it's going to be to get your doctor to do anything. However I think you should push for your husband to have at least a CT scan, as it sounds like a possible neurological problem to me. I think he may have been having mini-strokes. If this is the case, he can at least be put on medication to reduce the risk of further strokes, even if the damage from the earlier ones can't be undone. He should also have full blood tests - not just sugar, haemoglobin and cholesterol - something else I know UK doctors are very bad about. And of course he should be tested for lung function and possible narrowing of the arteries in his legs, as the sudden onset with walking problems could indicate a problem in these areas.

      To sum up, I think you need to get him back to the doctor and talk specifically about the mobility and balance problems. I realise the doctor may simply say this is old age - which it might be, of course. We all age at different rates. On the other hand, 79 isn't so very old in this day and age, and it sounds from your post as if this problem has come on very suddenly.

      I know it can be hard to stand up to your doctor, but I think you and your husband are going to have to insist a bit. It does sound to me as if his problems have come on too quickly to be automatically attributed to dementia without further investigation.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for all that information lily, yes I agree with everything you said, I know with his vascular dementia which he's had for 2 and half years now that he is going to get worse and go downhill ,it did seem sudden and maybe a bit soon in the illness to have these problems

      I did wonder about him having some mini stroke TIA's, when he had a MRI scan 2 yrs ago and was diagnosed they said he had had some mini strokes just prior to the scan.

      I will definitely see our GP and tyr and insist he has another scan.

      It's such a shame because it has changed his lifestyle and he doesn't go out very much now especially on his own, he does like to go on a bus ride which I find boring but I will go with him otherwise he would just sit indoors all the time. Thank you again

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    • Posted

      Try and get them to investigate his mobility problems as well - especially the bit about having to rest after walking 100 yards or so. That could be significant, and nothing to do with dementia. Dementia sufferers don't typically have mobility problems in the early stages, that tends to come later.

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    • Posted

      Sorry not sure if that reply got sent. He has had tests for heart failure like heart scan and ECG and bloods but all.came bavk negative and no problems with his heart. I often wonder if he had the dementia quite a while before he was diagnosed and so he's in later stage than I think.

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    • Posted

      He was behaving very aggressively for couple years verbally and so.I...had to go live with my daughter for 7 months. I thought then he may have a problem but didn't do anything till 2 yrs later when I told him we have to.get it checked out.

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    • Posted

      Ah, that starts to make more sense. I'm afraid you could be right, and your husband could be much further on in his dementia than you originally thought.

      You should be eligible for help, either at home or getting your husband into day-care or respite care as things continue to advance. But I'm afraid this is something of a post-code lottery in the UK. In my mother's case we did manage to get disability allowance (or whatever it's called now) and tax credit (ditto). This wouldn't have been enough to pay for private care, but it did at least help in the private purchase of things like incontinence pads and mobility aids.

      Three months before her death my mother had a minor fall (broke her wrist) but spent the rest of her life in hospital, where I visited every day. By the time she died she was completely helpless, couldn't stand or do anything for herself, and was refusing to eat. I was told that she was going to be discharged into my sole care, and that we weren't entitled to any kind of care package as she was in social housing - i.e. didn't have a house to sell to pay for her care. I can't begin to imagine how I would have coped. In spite of her weight loss I was completely unable to lift my mother and she couldn't stand at all. She had the good grace to die two days before her discharge date.

      I think you need to start putting pressure on your GP now to contact social services so you and your husband are at least on their radar. I wish you all the very best in what I know is a difficult time for you both.

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    • Posted

      Thank you very much lily for your feedback and helpful replies. On your advice I'm definitely going to see GP on my own and try and insists hubby has another brain scan and tell GP I really need to know if it's the dementia or something else, personaly I think it's the dementia, especially with his now slurred speak. Thank you again for your advice. I will let you know how I get on.

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  • Posted

    Dear stella41,

    I may not know you personally, ma'am, but I'm truly sad to hear of the changes that your husband AND yourself are experiencing.

    Without knowing anything about your husband's medical history and not being there to be able to carry out a physical, psychological, and emotional assessment it would be very difficult to assess whether what you're noticing is a progression of your husband's dementia.  What I CAN tell you, however, is that vascular dementia IS a progressive illness. i.e. it IS likely to get worse as time progresses.

    In vascular dementia, what tends to happen is that over a period of time more an more TIAs (Transient Ischaemic Attacks ... mini-strokes) occur, and dependent on where in the brain these TIAs occur, this determines which of the sufferer's capabilities are more likely to be affected.  For instance, TIAs that occur in the left hemisphere of the cerebrum are MORE LIKELY to affect things such as speech, comprehension, arithmetic, and writing.  This MIGHT explain your husband's 'problems' with his speech "getting bad" and the slurring of his words.  TIAs that occur in the cerebellum, which is an area of the brain beneath the cerebrum, affect such things as muscle movements, maintaining posture, and balance, which MIGHT explain your husband's inability to walk very far, and the 'problem' he seems to be having with balance.  Do, please, take into account that these are NOT the only causes of these types of difficulty.  Your husband REALLY needs to be assessed by medical professionals to determine the cause.

    As your husband is getting upset about what's happening with him, this MAY indicate both anxiety and POSSIBLE depression.  Again, your husband really does need to be assessed by medical professionals in an attempt to determine exactly what's going on.

    One other thing that I would say about vascular dementia is that TIAs do NOT normally occur at a 'steady' rate.  What I'm trying to say is that sometimes many TIAs occur within a short space of time, then many months may pass before another occurs.  This means that the sufferer often seems as though they've reached a 'plateau' where no significant change(s) is/are noticed.

    In, somewhat, support of your husband's doctor, it's not always easy to say, specifically, if changes are due to one medical condition, especially if that person also has other comorbid medical conditions.  This is especially true if the doctor being seen is not an 'expert' in that particular field.  For instance, in your husband's situation, it would require a 'brain specialist', and often several 'brain specialists, and MAY well require a number of different types of memory management tests and scans.

    I'm sorry that I couldn't give you a definitive yes or no on your question as to whether it is a progression of your husband's dementia, but I do hope that my explanation has gone some way to helping you understand a little more of what your husband's type of dementia involves.

    Be well, stella41.

    Lots of Love and Light to both yourself and your husband.

     Mick

    x x x x

     x x x

    P.S. Please don't be offended, or alarmed, at the 'x's'.  It's merely a logo, of sorts, that I've used for the past 40-odd years.

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    • Posted

      Thank you micksmixxx for your very imformative reply, it made very interesting reading and has given me a lot to think about. A lot of what you said agrees with what I was thinking was happening but not having a definite professional diagnosis I was doubting myself.

      What you said about different areas of the brain and TIA'S does match up with his latest symptoms, as along with his speech problems his writing is also getting a bit scrawly not as clear as he used to write, sometimes difficult to read and as I said his walking and balance is very bad. He has been having someone come to the house to do excerises with him for 2 months but it hasn't really helped him.

      I will definitely go and see my Dr maybe on my own at first to discuss all of this and try and get him to refer him for a MRI brain scan, he had one 2 and half yrs ago when he was diagnosed and it showed he had a few TIA'S

      There are days when he really does not feel well, says his head feels funny and fuzzy and he just switches off from everything and I wonder if he's having a TIA then, but he can't seem to tell me how he's actually feeling. But then another day he can be as bright as a button.

      So my next step is to see the Dr as see what happens there.

      THANK YOU VERY MUCH again micksmix xxx I will let you know how I get on.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your response, stella41.

    As I said in my first response to your question, ma'am, I obviously don't know your husband's medical history, but did his doctor not prescribe Aspirin after his MRI scan showed that he'd had several TIAs?

    Please don't believe that everyone that has TIAs is prescribed Aspirin.  It really depends on the type of TIAs that are occurring ... they can be caused by leaking blood vessels, which would negate the need for Aspirin, or they can be caused by blockages in the tiny capillaries that feed blood to the different areas of he brain.  This latter type MAY be helped by Aspirin as it helps blockages to 'dissolve'.  (Statins are also used if the sufferer has high cholesterol levels ... specifically high levels of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) or the 'bad' cholesterol, as Statins help to lower LDL cholesterol.)

    Be aware that certain medications MAY prevent your husband's doctor from prescribing these medications as they can be contraindicated against other medications, which means that they don't work well together, and could possibly cause 'problems' in themself.

    I understand about "doubting yourself", ma'am, but you are the one that's living with your husband day-to-day.  You are the one that is more likely to notice when something is changing, or has changed.

    I would appreciate it if you did 'keep me in the loop' by letting me know how things are going, and what's changing for you and your husband.

    Be well, stella41.

    Lots of Love and Light.

     Mick

    x x x x

     x x x

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    • Posted

      Hi micksmixxx,

      Yes he is on quite a lot of medication including warfrin as he has Alterial Fibliration , statins, diabets 2 medication, and a few others. He was on most of these before his scan ad was diagnosed. After scan he was sent to a memory clinic and then attended a dementia clinic for 6 months but was then discharged to the care of his GP ( doctor ) he has been on warfrin for about 8 years now. I have appointment to see my Dr on Monday to see what he can tell me, I won't take my husband on that day as it's easier to to dicuss the situation without hi there will TRY and get him to arrange a CT or MRI scan.

      Thank you for listening and your helpful advice micksmixxx

      Will certainly let you know how I get on with GP.

      Regards Stella

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your message, Stella.

      Warfarin would be the main reason why your husband's doctor hasn't prescribed Aspirin, ma'am.

      As I'm sure you're already aware, Warfarin 'thins down the blood', to prevent clots from forming, so you wouldn't want another medication which works in a very similar way.

      Hopefully, Stella, your husband's doctor will understand about his vascular dementia and will discuss your husband's medical care with you.  I've met many doctors over the years who will not.

      I don't know if you're in the UK, ma'am, but if you are, and you're getting your husband's care on the NHS, you MAY come up against some opposition to your suggestion of a CT or MRI scan.  Again, I've had to deal with many doctors over the years on behalf of clients suffering with different types of dementia, and many of them are reluctant to refer patients for futher testing that they deem wouldn't provide much new information.  Your husband's doctor MAY state that they already know about him suffering TIAs, so what would be point of him receiving confirmation of this.  (It used to take a great deal of 'pressure' from me to get various procedures and referrals to be accepted by SOME doctors as being worthwhile and cost-effective.)

      I appreciate that you'll be seeing youy husband's doctor by yourself on Monday.  Do you mind if I ask whether that's due to your own anxiety as to how your husband might react towards your good self, or is it that meeting with the doctor would simply be too stressful for your husband?  I know that it MAY well be a combination of the two, but I, obviously, don't know either yourself or your husband.  I'm just trying to get a 'clearer picture' in my mind.

      I don't know if you've ever had a CT or MRI scan yourself, ma'am, but both of them can be anxiety forming.  I've had several types of both of these scans myself over the years, and I can tell you that the MRI scans, in particular, cause anxiety.  To me, it's like feelings of claustrophobia ... being enclosed in a tight space, and the loudness of the machinery is very loud.

      I wish you well for Monday, Stella.  I will be there with you in spirit if not in person.

      Be well, my new-found friend.

      Lots of Love and Light.

       Mick

      x x x x

       x x x

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  • Posted

    Hi Stella, I'm 63 and it's been a few years since I was diagnosed with vascular dementia. I have the balance problem and I constantly my ears ring 24/7. My eyesight Kris getting worse each year. Don't know if that's got anything to do with the dementia. But the balance problem is part of it. I have trouble finding the right words to use also. I guess in in the mid stage of this awful stuff I really don't know. I take a lot of meds also. My memory is getting worse.

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    • Posted

      Hi Nikki,

      So sorry to hear about your problem. It must be very frightening.

      However, are you quite sure your balance problem and the ringing in your ears are part of your vascular dementia? This could be the case, especially if you've had a couple of mini-strokes affecting the cerebellum (the two little lobes at the back of your brain).

      Has your doctor had you completely checked out to eliminate an inner-ear problem? This is a more common cause for balance problems and ringing in the ears. If the problem does to turn out to be with your ears, there's hope that something might be done to make you feel at least a little better.

      Same goes for your failing sight. Have you been checked by an eye specialist? Alternatively, if you live in the UK, an ordinary high-street optician can do a full eye examination, not just a vision test. By age 63 you can start getting all kinds of eye problems, some of which - cataracts for instance - are easily treated.

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    • Posted

      Hi Nikki , its ages since I've been on here and micksmixx was so good and helpful to me. I'm sorry to hear about your awful health problems and you are so young to be having to deal with this.My husband was diagnosed 3 years ago, he is 79 now. you mention about you being in the mid stage, I often wonder how to tell what stage hes at and how we can tell. My husband has got a lot worse the past 6 months, he can hardly walk now, although he tries to go with me for very short walk to shop but its painfully slow, its normally a 5 min walk but if takes about 15-20 mins with him hanging on to me and putting all his weight on me which is very hard for me too, he refuses to get a mobility scooter.

      even getting about the house is very difficult for him.Like you his speech is getting worse, his words are slurred or he can't find the words he wants to say, it's getting difficult to have a normal conversation now, and like you his eyesight is getting worse but hes had tests and new glasses recently but he still struggles. he also can't do anything much indoors now, so he usually just sits in chair or tried to potter round house. So yes life is very difficult as I have to do everything and I'm 78 soon, BUT my life is not a difficult as yours Nikki, I can't imagine how your feeling, do you have family that can help you love.

      I'm really sorry your going through this at your age. It's the most awful, devastating illness there is, I cared for my mum when she had it years ago, and my husbands mum, never ever thinking he would get it too.

      Please take care Nikki, and make sure you get all the help you can.💖

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