Tuesday, 25 September 2012

So many things can make dementia worse

As I've read other people's experiences I have become more aware of the various things that can cause rapid deterioration in a person's dementia symptoms:

Hospitalisation, general anaesthesia, medication (side effects), medication (interaction), herpes outbreaks, constipation, urinary tract infection, undiagnosed pain and dehydration commonly cause people caring for someone with dementia to panic about the sudden decline that they witness. The good news is that in very many cases the deterioration can be arrested and often reversed.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are particularly nasty in their effect. Often, people are given broad-spectrum antibiotics which don't deal with the infection adequately. Proper urine testing needs to be done in order to decide which antibiotic is needed.

There are probably other things that I've overlooked. It's very important that everyone involved with dementia care knows about all this. The underlying condition is horrible enough without any further avoidable aggravation.

And of course, the way a person is treated by other people may well influence the course of the disease and the severity of the symptoms.


  1. The long term answer for all urinary tract infection problems is to keep vitamin D status optimal using 1000iu/daily/vitamin D3 for each 25lbs you weigh.

    Optimal 25(OH)D (that's the measure of how much vitamin d is circulating in your body) is 125nmol/l (50ng/ml for US readers) It's the level human DNA is set to achieve equilibrium if humans lived as we evolved and at which human breast milk is vitamin D replete.

    City Assays (Birmingham NHS path lab) do postal 25(OH)D tests for £25 (Less if you bulk buy and share with friends/family) in your case your GP should be able to get one done for free.

    Cheapest Vit D3 I'm aware of is Healthy Origins, Vitamin D3 Drops, 5,000 IU cost £4.42 from IHERB code WAB666 save $5 initially. Limit order value to below £15 or pay 20% customs tax + £8 handling fee to Post Office.
    It's likely that the Healthy Origins or similar Vitamin D3 Cholecalciferol drops are better, safer, longer lasting and more effective, than Vitamin D your most likely to be prescribed from a doctor. (They tend to use Ergocalciferol which speeds up the rate at which vitamin D is disposed of so making matter worse in the long term)

    If you want to understand the science of how Vitamin D produces a natural antibiotic enzymes that fight e coli and other pathogens that cause infection here are some free full text papers.

    Vitamin D Induction of the Human Antimicrobial Peptide Cathelicidin in the Urinary Bladder

    Antimicrobial Peptides, Innate Immunity, and the Normally Sterile Urinary Tract

    I speak from personal experience as I self catheterize (non function bladder) so have to insert a plastic pipe into bladder 5 times daily and this used to cause constant UTI. The e coli became resistant to antibiotics so I had to find a way to prevent UTI without relying on antibiotics.

    Vitamin D3 works better in conjunction with magnesium and omega 3.
    I also drink green tea (antimicrobial) and use coconut oil (antimicrobial) as my main cooking fat.

    Vitamin D3 drops are the easiest form to use as they can be added to hot or cold foods or drinks so don't require another set of tablets or capsules. Ideally as vit d is a fat soluble vitamin it's best absorbed with a meal containing butter, olive oil or coconut oil. But it's not critical.

  2. Wow great information from Ted. I have UTI's alot and have started taking a urinary flush that has helped me. But I may try this.

  3. My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago at age 70 after having cognitive imparement 3 years prior to that. Lewy Body Dementia, is the second most common dementia next to Alzheimer's but is the most difficult dementia for both patient and caregivers. Many facilities will not take Lew Body patients and my husband is no longer welcome at 3 different facilities because of the difficulty taking care of him. He has been in and out of the hospital for various reasons, most recently for a staff in and around the device put in him for a serious collar bone break (shattered actually), and is now receiving daily antibiotic IV therapy. They tried to use a pic line but he pulled that out during the night, so he has to be stuck every day for 5 more weeks. Anyway, he has had a triple whammy with antibiotics, hospitalizations, 2 surgeries, 2 different types of infections and has declined recently and I believe has a lot to do with the antibiotics. I am telling you and your readers all of this because I have found a drug that has helped my husband more than any others he has been on and I would like to share this info. It is called Nuedexta. It was prescribed to my husband by a psychiatrist during one of my husbands stays at a convalescent hospital. The bad news is it is very expensive and not covered by my insurance (I believe because it has not been approved for dementia). It runs from $700-$800 a month if taken as prescribed, one a.m. and one p.m. I find that just one in the morning works well for him. I apologize for veering somewhat off the subject or if you have covered this subject in your previous blogs. I plan on reading the rest of your blogs as I like what you have to say. Thank you

    1. Thank you Connie. I hadn't heard of Neudexta and will now look it up. I'm sure other readers will be interested.

      I hope you continue to find the blg helpful.