Monday, March 9, 2015

Dementia Patients Have Other Medical Problems

I was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease in June 2010, at the age of 57.
I take 11 pills daily, a whole host of medications, to which none of them are for dementia.
I take medication for anxiety, I take medication for depression, and I take medications to help me sleep. I take medications for nightmares, and I take medications for my nerves.
At this time I am on no medications for dementia. Why is that? For me it's simple, the symptoms of dementia are as bad, if not worse than the disease itself.
The three main medications directly linked to dementia are Aricept, Namenda, and the Exelon patch. None of these three slow the progression of dementia, as many claim.
Many times the symptoms of dementia are overlooked. The depression, the anxiety, the fear, the loneliness, the stress, the lack of sleep, the lack of being able to make decisions, just to name a few.
I cannot imagine anyone having dementia and not taking medication for its symptoms. Yet many times the focus is on medications to slow the progression, which again there are none.
The one thing the patient absolutely has to stay away from is stress. This of course is next to impossible. The very fact that the person has dementia it is extremely stressful.
Life in general is stressful, couple that with having dementia, and you have a volatile situation. Still, many times caregivers and family members focus on medications to slow the progression of dementia.
One must remember that even though your loved one has dementia, they still deal with a whole host of other issues.
Dementia patients get the flu, they get pneumonia, they get UTIs, they can have strokes, heart problems, diabetes, and shingles. The get colds, they get headaches, they are indeed susceptible to any and all other medical issues that everyone is.
What I am trying to explain is don't get hung up on your love one has dementia and that is the only medical problems they may have.
As a patient I can tell you there is absolutely no way I could ever even begin to deal with this disease without the medications that I take every day.
And like I said, all these medications are for the symptoms of dementia, not dementia itself.
I don't understand how it caregiver can do what is necessary day in and day out and not be on some sort of anxiety or antidepressant medication.
No one needs to be in a zombie state. However dealing with dementia as a patient or a caregiver stress, anxiety, and depression are prevalent.
There is no doubt that all these symptoms will happen, the only question is to what degree?
We never tell anyone what medications their love ones should be on here on Memory People™. This is the internet and the only information we have to go by is what someone posts.
Just remember the symptoms your love one goes through can be far more devastating then dementia itself.
How do you know this? Because a patient told you so...there is much more to be concerned about then dementia.