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I'm reading a lot of people have loved ones with vascular dementia and the symptoms sound almost the same as Alzheimer's. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's by a very bad doctor who didn't care, no tests were done, just a few questions and based on things we told her she did. Now I am wondering if she could have vascular dementia rather than Alzheimer's. The question is, how is one determined over the other? Are there tests by a specialist? Another question is, Mom is 100, can anything really be done medically for her for either diagnosis (except an antidepressant - to treat depression she has had for the past 25 years anyway). Based on what I have read, it is really too late for Aricept, and at 100 years old and 95 pounds, sounds like the risk of side effects is not worth it, nor will it bring back her memory.) Is it worth it to go through finding another doctor, tests, etc just for a correct diagnosis at her age? Would it make her life any better in any way?
I'm assuming that vascular dementia (used to be called hardening of the arteries of the brain 50 years ago, I think) is blockage. Since Mom has always been skinny, almost anorexic, has low blood pressure and low cholesterol all her life, what are the odds she would have VDementia? If she has it, is there a treatment?

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I am a huge proponent of having a good doctor at any age. If you feel the doc is not a good doc or if his/her bedside manner is poor then it is best to find one better. It is such an important relationship.
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I am a huge proponent of knowing an accurate diagnosis to the extent that is possible (short of an autopsy) for person for whom it might make a difference.

My husband was in his 70s when dementia slapped him upside the head in sudden onset. It was a huge help to know that in all probability it was Lewy Body Dementia. It helped me to know what to expect. It helped his doctors know what drugs to try and which ones to avoid. It enabled me to join a caregiver group who understood the unique characteristics of this disease.

My mother started displaying dementia symptoms in her late 80s. We know it isn't LBD and it doesn't seem to be Alzheimer's. I have never even suggested trying for a more precise diagnosis. We all deal with the symptoms that present themselves.

If you want to know to satisfy curiosity and for future generations, you can find out through autopsy. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother Mom, at 100, with more tests. Just take what you read about Alzheimer's as interesting but not necessarily applicable to your mother.
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Dementia at age 100 could be a combination of more than one type. There is no fix for the micro hemorrhages or micro blockages. At age100 a brain CT would not be risky, but I guarantee you what you would see would look like a large dry raisin. "age related decline" they would call it. Even at 88 my MIL's CT report had areas too small to analyze (in other words, it shrank a LOT) an the total picture was considered "advanced" atrophy.
A diagnosis for anyone who makes 100 would include "exceptionally good" if you are still alive. People born in 1915 faced Spanish Flu, The Great Depression and WWII. Millions did not survive those. God Bless her, every day is a gift.
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