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She's had vascular Dementia since 2011. Well, mom is having a dizzy time walking today specifically. almost fell down 2x. We are holding onto her, but she's definitely 'off'. She also has a little cough, and a cold sore (which is rare for her) on her lip.
Any ideas?
Could the newfound dizziness ("My head is going this way when I look, but feet are going the other way!") be attributed to (shudder) a stroke?
Going to dr. tomorrow.
any thoughts?

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Yes, her symptoms are characteristic of a cold or flu which may or may not require an antibiotic. When the inner ear gets fluid in it or an infection that affects balance. Try to keep her well hydrated, I hope she has seen the doctor by now, and on her road to recovery. Best of all, get her a walker whenever she tries to walk on her own so she will have something to hang on to. You can borrow one from different groups, thrift stores sell them, or Walgreen's has a healthcare department in some stores. We are both sick now and dealing with the same circumstance, only my husband got an antibiotic yesterday and is shaking and weak today. He asked for his walker immediately! (He doesn't do that too often). I pray your mom will feel better soon!
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Way outside my "mobility problems expertise" but there is another cause of dizziness that has not been mentioned. It is known as BPPV and you could google "dizziness and ear crystals" to find info on it. The ear has "crystals" (like little rocks) that feed balance readings back to the brain. They can be dislodged (sometimes by just remaining in the same position for a long time) and create dizziness. The fix is to have a doctor (that knows the procedure) position the head so that the "crystals" go back to where they belong. Sounds weird but this is exactly how your ears are key to maintaining balance. I checked it out after a relative had it done and it worked perfectly (he had suffered from dizziness after a car accident).
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Robin: No problem
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Llamalover: Sorry. I hadn't read all of the previous posts.
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The original poster has moved on, creating another thread. Perhaps the newer posters are finding it difficult to find their own posts.
If so, go to your News Feed on your profile wall.
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Robin: Yes, that's what I said.
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It might also be as simple as dehydration. How much water is your mom drinking? I know my mom doesn't drink nearly enough, and it becomes an issue in many areas, including UTIs, but especially (myself included) with dizziness when dehydrated.
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5. Gait and balance. At a minimum, a gait assessment means that the doctor carefully watches the way the older person is walking. There are also some simple ways to check balance.

Simple things to do, if gait and balance don’t seem completely fine, are:

Address any pain or discomfort, if that seems to be a cause of problems. Many older people are reacting to pain in their feet, joints, or back.
Consider a physical therapy referral for gait and balance assessment. A physical therapist can often recommend suitable strengthening exercises, and also can help fit the older person for an assistive device (e.g. a walker) if appropriate.

Dr. Leslie Kernisan wrote above. She is an expert poster on AC, and a geriatrician.
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First guess-Is she dehydrated?
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Nikki, can you share what the doctor said, or are they running tests?
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Radiculopathy of lower spine can cause your feet and legs not to be able to respond to your brain's directions, possibly, could be a reason for falls and unsteady gait, as well as other movement disorders.
Start with seeing the doctor, get checked for a UTI.
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Yes, Pargirl, it is called the Epley Maneuver for vertigo, available on you-tube video.
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Sooo many things could cause this. With my MIL it was her blood pressure medication. Could be inner ear that is causing it for those of you with vertigo. There is a procedure to fix this but you have to see a specialist while you are in the midst of it. I had a head injury and got what they call positional vertigo, meaning that it only happens in a certain position. Procedure is call the Epley Procedure. But also like others have said there could be so many reasons. Dehydration can do a number on a normal person let alone dementia. Good Luck and God Bless
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I've had vertigo (BPV) for years. My ENT doctor prescribes 2mg Valium. It quiets the nerves in the ear, but isn't strong enough to affect mood or make me sleepy. It does help, especially when rolling over in bed at night causes vertigo in the morning.
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Also consult with an Ear Nose and Throat doctor. They will do a simple test on her to see if she has crystals lose in her ears. My mom had vertigo and doctors were coming up with all sorts of reasons. The ENT proved his theory and fixed it with a manipulation done with my mom wearing goggles. His movements repositioned the crystals and her dizziness went away. It is much more common than I thought.
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Ear infection: labyrinth part of the inner ear. Low thyroid. Low blood sugar. Low BP (others here said that). Dehydration.
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One symptom of dementia can be dizziness. My mom had that long before she even started antidepressants and later depakote, which can also cause dizziness. She is now in a wheelchair because of her unsteadiness. Though it's always best to stay as mobile as possible (w/o a wheelchair), I believe my mom is much safer and less apt to have a dangerous fall now that she is in the chair. Many different causes of dizziness to explore, of course. Mom even had it from sleep disturbance. Changes in sleep patterns can really mess with your sense of balance too. Hope your doctor is well versed in the symptoms of dementia and other possible causes of dizziness, so that you get to the bottom of your mom's problem. I have found that doctors are people with strengths and weaknesses just like the rest of us. Some are better aquainted with all the many facets of dementia while others are less intimately aware of those. If you don't get help, check with another doctor or even a neurologist that specializes in vascular dementia to see if a variety of opinions/diagnosis begin to give you a fuller understanding of what could be the root cause and possible treatment for the condition. All the best in your quest! -- and hang in there, I'm rooting for you on this difficult journey!
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Dehydration is particularly common in senior 'dizzy' issues. I keep a fresh pitcher of ice water next to my mother's chair every morning. I can see exactly how much she is drinking (or not!). It has helped get rid of her irregular heart beat too.
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P.S. I forgot to mention that the cause of her vertigo was a build-up of EAR WAX! The ER doc took one look in her ear and said he couldn't even see the eardrum it was so plugged up with wax. She's old school and insists on using Q-tips which make matters much worse by pushing IN the wax. So he used an instrument & removed a huge plug of wax, and her vertigo disappeared (and her hearing improved slightly as well). Just thought that bit of info may help some of you trying to figure out how to treat vertigo, or what may be causing it.

Good luck to all!
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If this seems dramatically & distinctively different, she could have had a TIA. Transient ischemic attack. Not a traditional stroke but more of a mini stroke. My mom had several of these her last years. They can afterwards go to be in a hospital for observation for a day or two from a TIA but they usually do not warrant a real hospitalization. My moms second NH would take the relax & chill approach on a TIA as they get better within a day or two & without the stress of a hospital /ER observation & transportation by EMS. For my mom, it was a 3 day cycle to be back to normal. She looked really really bad, like she's gonna die for maybe 24- 36 hrs & then recover; the TIA seemed to come closer together for my mom her last 2 years. She had lewy body dementia.

As others have mentioned, if this is vertigo doing the positional exercises before they move from being in bed or being in a car or chair for a long time will make a huge difference in making them able to walk and manage the vertigo. Mezciline is the usual go to RX for vertigo. It's well tolerated with little side effects.

If mom goes into the hospital, you want to clearly find out IF she is being admitted into the hospital or just there on "observation". Medicare payment for observation is not at all what they pay for an admission. She's going to have copays to deal with & it could be quite costly. You want her MD to "admit" to a hospital & not just "under observation" if possible.
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I also was going to suggest having her doctor look into vestibular disease of which Benign Paroxysmal Positional Veritgo is one but there are others. My FIL has this. If the inner ear and/or brain was ever damaged - a stroke or head injury/concussion for example - balance problems are often the result. And most balance problems are the result of damage to the vestibular system. They are difficult to diagnose. Medications and surgery are available for some vestibular disorders but not all. So there's no magic bullet. Balance exercises are important. If it's migraines or Meniere's dietary changes are important. My FIL has had multiple full workups and nothing has been found. On days when his dizziness is bad, he uses a rollator.
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Hi. I would suggest you have her checked out to make sure she doesn't have pneumonia, also and this is important, have them check for an ear infection. Often times that will cause her equilibrium to be off balance. My MIL was dizzy recently and it was an inner ear infection. When caring for my mother, she was dizzy and they found she had pneumonia. Please have her checked. There are many issues that can cause this, even a UTI. In the meantime, monitor her walking, keep to a minimum and walk with her, have her use a walker if she doesn't already. The last thing you want is her to fall and break her hip or femur. Prayers to you and her.
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My 80yo mother complained of dizziness about 5 years ago. Her primary doctor suggested to see an Audiologist and was diagnosed with BPPV - Benign Paroxysmal Positional Veritgo (Same as dragonbait's answer).
She had several canalith repositioning procedures, which involved placing her head in a series of positions for several seconds at a time. The movements help to move crystals/calcium particles from inner ear canal that is disturbing the nerve receptors. But she said the exercise made her nauseated and stopped the treatment given by her therapist. Her doctor indicated that sometimes it just goes away by itself and also may come back years later.
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My mother just turned 89. She experiences everything from vertigo to exhaustion to dizziness to stumbling around & falling, low O2 levels, depression, dementia, you name it, she goes through it on a weekly basis. I've taken her to the ER MANY times, and left without a diagnosis. If there was a diagnosis to be made, it would probably be "Old Age" and all it's ugly side-effects. I'm not trying to minimize your mother's symptoms, just saying that there isn't always a 'diagnosis' for symptoms of this nature except for age. We've probably spent thousands of dollars in co-pays and hundreds of hours in ERs and doctor visits, and still haven't found an answer for the vast majority of these symptoms. She's on an anti-depressant for mood swings, Valium and/or Meclizine for vertigo, blood thinners for A-fib, night oxygen for breathing difficulties, Gabapentin for neuropathy in legs & feet (which can also present as 'vertigo'), 2 BP meds which sometimes create LOW BP, and the list goes on. The drugs used to treat the 'symptoms' may CREATE more problems than they cure. Unfortunate, isn't it?
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I also get what is called "top shelf vertigo" which happens whenever I am trying to reach for an item on the top shelf in the grocery store. I use to have to close both eyes while reaching up and hope the item didn't fall on my head :P but it did keep the vertigo at bay.

My Mom would get "top shelf vertigo" hanging up clothes to dry on a clothes line. I tried to get her to use the dryer through a full cycle but she refused, she just had to hung up those clothes.
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Primary Care Physician
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What is PCP?
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Agree that it could be dehydration and/or effects of UTI. Definitely get a checkup from a doctor or nurse practicioner.
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Mom has vascular dementia. Probably her oxygen level. Definitely go to dr,
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Make sure you monitor her blood pressure and take her to a Dr. Her primary care should suggest who to see and what to do.
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