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It started out with mom not knowing how to use the telephone and progressed from there.
October 14, 2008 11:29 AM   Subscribe

New research suggests that low blood pressure is a symptom, not a cause, of Alzheimer's Disease. While the cause of the disease is still unknown, some research suggests stress exacerbates its progression. Also, the problem is growing across the globe. So, while you never forget the challenges and revelations of those living with the effects of Alzheimer's, try to laugh and smile a little more.
posted by Panjandrum (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
And hey, a big hug to those of you out there who have a family member, or a friend, or anyone else you know with the disease.
posted by Panjandrum at 11:30 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"some research suggests stress exacerbates its progression."

Ah, this form of prevention makes sense then.
posted by mullingitover at 11:34 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to eat more curry.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:37 AM on October 14, 2008


Mullingitover's link: Active ingredient in pot may help preserve brain function

That headline is strangely at odds with my own anecdotal data.
posted by rokusan at 11:45 AM on October 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Next up: medium blood pressure is a sign of a scary disease.
posted by jouke at 12:05 PM on October 14, 2008


So eat more salt, kiddies!
posted by Mister_A at 12:16 PM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


It had never entered my mind that low or high blood pressure caused the disease. I am lucky to have any blood pressure--too high or too low.
posted by Postroad at 12:27 PM on October 14, 2008


Go, chess, and other "brain" games have been shown to help maintain brain function, as has a reading habit.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:49 PM on October 14, 2008


Stress is bad for you? FUCK!!!


My grandfather (step-grandfather) had Alzheimer's, he only briefly went through the ‘angry’ stage of the disease. Which was odd really. He remained very sweet tempered as well throughout the thing. Which I think was the most heartbreaking part of it.
Here’s this guy who’s dealing with it in such a remarkable manner and he has no idea, and never did, of how well he was doing with it.
What also struck me was the denial from some parts of the (extended) family.

They told me he had Alzheimer’s and, after a bit more conversation, I said they should spend their time with him now because they won’t be able to as the disease progresses and he loses his mind and then dies.
I put it less harshly of course. But even as I put it in plainer and plainer terms there was resistance. I told my mom outright “It’s a death sentence.”

Nobody seemed to get that part.

One of my (step) brothers told me “you don’t know that.”
And I told him point blank - he’s dying. If you split and come back to see him in a few years he’s only going to be worse.

I suppose I come off as a little callous around some of the family. The rest of us who have been around death tend to, quite contrary to the perceptions of us, value life and embrace those who are dying.

I spent a lot of time with him towards the end. I helped my grandmother get him some tactile stuff (fabric and wood and so forth) and talked to him about some things when he was lucid.

Funny how some folks looked embarrassed when he would spout off or cackle or something. I never understood what there was to be ashamed about. I can see being afraid, but damn, too many people let that get in the way of showing love for someone. They’re the same person they always were, they’re just suffering from a disease. And they’re dying.

You either value the time you have left with them, or you regret it for the rest of your life.
I was there when my grandmother gasped her last breath. I’ve held my friends hand as they died. I held my uncle’s head as he drowned in his own blood.

I was there as my grandfather progressively lost his mind and became bedridden and died. Those were horrible, painful moments oscillating between boredom and panic.
But I would have regretted not being there more.

Although I tend to be the butt of the gallows humor: Smed’s always there when someone’s about to die.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:33 PM on October 14, 2008 [20 favorites]


Terry Pratchett: I'm slipping away a bit at a time... and all I can do is watch it happen
posted by homunculus at 1:58 PM on October 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


I have low blood pressure (which causes occasional fainting/dizzy spells) and I really was told to eat more salt. By a cardiologist. He said he never got to tell anyone that before.
posted by JoanArkham at 2:05 PM on October 14, 2008


One more thing to stress about. And on the kind of workday like I'm having today...
posted by Foosnark at 2:20 PM on October 14, 2008


The rest of us who have been around death tend to, quite contrary to the perceptions of us, value life and embrace those who are dying.

Thank-you for mentioning that.
posted by docpops at 2:20 PM on October 14, 2008


smead, your awesome.

to all, i have a question :
are they saying that if you have historically high blood pressure and it goes down suddenly that's a sign of Alzheimers? or are they saying that having any kind of low blood pressure is a sign of Alzheimers?

Because if it is the second option, am totally fucked and am going to die demented like my dad and my grandparents. i've had low blood pressure all my life. that said though, my dad and my grandparents had high blood pressure most of their adult lives. i've never, ever had that problem.

and i so don't want o die demented or with Alzheimers. not like that, no.
posted by liza at 2:20 PM on October 14, 2008


I have low blood pressure (which causes occasional fainting/dizzy spells) and I really was told to eat more salt. By a cardiologist. He said he never got to tell anyone that before.

Same here. Cardiologist said it matter of factly though. I have orthostatic hypo-tension due to medication. She also wanted me to wear special socks. Upon putting them on, I felt 50 years older.
posted by captainsohler at 2:31 PM on October 14, 2008


liza, the former.

from the article: He [the paper's author, Dr Sven Kurbel] suggests that as the patient's memory fails, they forget the causes of anxiety and worry that was causing high blood pressure: failing memory causes hypotension, not visa versa.

I also have always had very low blood pressure, despite eating enormous quantities of salt (some people suck on sweets, I suck on rock salt).
posted by jamaro at 5:26 PM on October 14, 2008


What were we talking about again?
posted by b1tr0t at 6:19 PM on October 14, 2008


My uncle and my grandfather died from Alzheimers, it is a pretty shitty way to go.
posted by Mr_Zero at 6:21 PM on October 14, 2008


My Dad is still near the beginning of the journey. Can't identify objects or remember the names of friends and colleagues from his adult career, but still has perfect memories of the trip across the Rockies when he was 8. He's the financial vizier of the family, but has lost much of his common sense. We want to ease the keys out of his hands before he sends money to Nigeria or something. (Speaking of keys, he already wrecked a car.)

My mother and I just watched Away From Her last night. Some very good work by the cast and written and directed well by the wonderful Sarah Polley. It mainly deals with the situation where a patient transfers affection to someone else, forgetting their previous relationships. I found Iris somewhat more about the pain of the disease's earlier progression. (Kate Winslet was also fantastic, playing the young Murdoch as a force of nature, but obviously the parts concerning the disease were all Judi Dench's to shoulder.) Both are far superior films to the treacly if solid The Notebook.

Given the other burdens she has, I dearly wish my mother didn't have this one. It's killing her, too.
posted by dhartung at 12:26 AM on October 15, 2008


Controlling the level of a fatty acid in the brain could help treat Alzheimer's disease, an American study has suggested.
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on October 21, 2008


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