Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mary wrote:
Hi DW, I deal with similar issues at my home too. One of my friends mentioned early onset of Alzheimer's disease. I am wondering if diabetic symptoms mimic Alzheimer's symptoms. My husband exhibits nearly all of these symptoms (plus the diabetic symptoms) and he is 48 years old! MaryM *** Here are the symptoms of Alzheimer's from Memory loss Everyone has occasional lapses in memory. It's normal to forget where you put your car keys or to blank on the names of people whom you rarely see. But the memory problems associated with Alzheimer's disease persist and worsen. People with Alzheimer's may: * Repeat things * Often forget conversations or appointments * Routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations * Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects Problems with abstract thinking People with Alzheimer's may initially have trouble balancing their checkbook, a problem that progresses to trouble recognizing and dealing with numbers. Difficulty finding the right word It may be a challenge for those with Alzheimer's to find the right words to express thoughts or even follow conversations. Eventually, reading and writing also are affected. Disorientation People with Alzheimer's disease often lose their sense of time and dates, and may find themselves lost in familiar surroundings. Loss of judgment Solving everyday problems, such as knowing what to do if food on the stove is burning, becomes increasingly difficult, eventually impossible. Alzheimer's is characterized by greater difficulty in doing things that require planning, decision making and judgment. Difficulty performing familiar tasks Once-routine tasks that require sequential steps, such as cooking, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer's may forget how to do even the most basic things. Personality changes People with Alzheimer's may exhibit: * Mood swings * Distrust in others * Increased stubbornness * Social withdrawal * Depression * Anxiety * Aggressiveness ****

Mary - I am no medical expert. are my thoughts on this.  A person who has diabetes for a long time is a person who is in the normal aging process.  But that process might get speeded up because of the damage diabetes can do.  We know that neuropathy is the loss of feeling in the extremities.  We know that the nerve endings start to die off in the feet, toes, fingers, hands.  And we also know that nerve endings start to die off in other parts of the body, such as the intestines.  Diabetics can go blind.  They seem to lose all types of normal body functions as the disease progresses.

So it would make sense to me that as the nerve endings start to die off in the extremities, there is damage being done to the nerve endings in the brain.  Why would diabetes be selective to what/which nerve endings it attacks?  I think it's such an extremely slow process that we don't notice it. And because it's tied into aging, we often think - oh, he's just getting older - at a much younger rate.

People are so eager to discredit what this disease does to the body.  And yes, if you are compliant, follow the doctor's orders, you can slow it down.  You can even get it into remission.  But if you are simply speed up the process and the progression of the disease.

So, is it Alzheimer's , or is it just the progression of the disease?  Does one aggrivate the other?  Does one assist and aggitate the other?  I can only guess that it does.  Makes sense to me.

I grew up with a family that went to a Church of Christ - did not believe in any type of medicine.  The father became diabetic.  Did not do anything.  It wasn't many years and the saying was "he blew up".  His kidneys stopped functioning, he retained everything that went in, and he puffed up like a whale and died.  So I know first hand that medication can dramatically slow down the prognosis of this disease.  I also know what it does....and will the long run....because this is what diabetes is.  High sugar eats away and the veins and arteries, and every inch of the body.

Hope that makes sense!

Today was my birthday.  The "real" reason he gave me the ipad.  :o)  It was a very good day for both of us.  We sort of took the day off and just enjoyed each other.  Even did a little bit of talking about the future and the need to downsize and get rid of stuff.   It's so nice to have a good day every now and then.  Reminds you how much you love them and how hopeful you are for even more good days like this!


1 comment:

Lynn Barry said...

I wrote with tough love in mind, but i see i should have been more sensitive...I wish my hubby had gotten help with depression years ago and think it would have made life easier for him and everyone he connects with but he didn't and now that he has and I see such an amazing change for the better....i got a little overzealous with my is short...people should get the help they need to make it easier for them and those of us who live with them. Good luck...HUGS