Sunday, 28 September 2014

Alzheimer's and Parkinson's - an update

The appointment was useful. I was impressed by the specialist. Prior to meeting us he did the usual speed-read of 'the notes' of course (just the notes since the diagnosis when my S was transferred to the care of the Adult Mental Health Team). He started by saying that the AMHT guy we see had noted that my wife has Lewy Bodies Disease (she hasn't - the diagnosis is Alzheimer's). When I queried this he said he thought it best to forget about labels - a man after my own heart.  (But I'll query this with the AMHT.)

He quickly identified that, as suspected, my wife has several Parkinsonism symptoms e.g. rigidity, 'cogwheel' unbending of arms. He thought on balance it was worth trying a very low dose (initially one 12.5/50mg tab a day) of Co-careldopa. I'd told him about my wife's extreme sensitivity towards many drugs. He said that because of the low dose and the short half-life of the drug (2-4 hours) any serious problem would be very unlikely but, obviously, we should stop taking it if there were any problems.

This dose may not produce any improvement but will show if the drug is tolerated and then the dose could be upped later. Someone once told me 'start low and start slow' is a good policy for most drugs you've not taken before.

So, I started today when nothing else is planned.  We have had a short walk so far, about 3/8ths mile.  It was about as good as it gets at the moment  -  we didn't have to stop at all. No adverse effects are apparent.

We will also get a visit from the 'falls team' who might be able to suggest some exercises that could help.

The specialist also mentioned that a Datscan (relatively new) could confirm whether S has some kind of Parkinsonian syndrome but agreed that this would be something of an ordeal for someone with S's problems and that as he could already see the problems she has we could just get on and try to treat them.

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