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 "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients? 
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:51 pm
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Post "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Hi All,

My father's functioning level has been declining more rapidly over the last 6-8 months and one of the symptoms that is occurring with more frequency are what we refer to as "fainting" spells although he doesn't completely lose consciousness. It's like he loses all muscle tone (dead weight), can't speak, and his feet are sometimes are at odd angles, making it impossible for him to stand on his own, let alone walk. He sleeps for long periods of time without waking and often loses his appetite. (He normally doesn't sleep more than a couple hours at a time and has a healthy appetite.)

He's had two spells this month which is worrying as they seem to be increasing in frequency. They last 2-3 days. Have others experienced this? Is there anything to be done? (He's not on any medication.) I suspect it's a sign of increased, quickening decline but I'm always thinking the absolute worst.

Any and all input would be so appreciated. (This is my first post here. Thanks for being here.)

Shay

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My 72-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ~3 years ago but LBD strong suspected. His decline is advancing quickly (July 2014).


Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:28 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3362
Location: Vermont
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Welcome Shay. Unfortunately it sounds like typical LBD symptoms. I think this is exactly what was happening to my dad when he was still living alone and he'd suddenly be on the floor and have to call neighbors to help him up. His legs were either super rigid or as flaccid as wet spaghetti. Last time he was home and this happened he had to be taken to the hospital and was not able to return home again. I believe it's the natural progression of this horrible disease. Many of our LOs have had this happen prior to their needing to be in a wheelchair to get around.

Is he living at home? Alone? Safety should be the biggest concern, as he may break something next time he falls, hit his head, etc. Does his dr. know about this? My dad's dr. insisted he walk with a walker (which he refused to do). So he went from walking to wheelchair bound in a short time period.

You might consider putting an intro. about your dad and situation in the intro. section too. Come back as often as you want or need to. There's a wealth of info. and support here. Lynn

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Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:02 pm
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 10:41 pm
Posts: 76
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Shay, welcome to the forum! I echo Lynn's advice to you, and agree that your father's condition sounds familiar. My Dad went through a phase like that, when he was still walking the dog. He had been taking shorter and shorter walks, but eventually he would collapse, or partially collapse (at one point he was found clinging to the mailboxes for support.) Sadly, that was the end of his dog walking, and the beginning of falls around the house. I agree that a walker is a very good idea at this juncture, if he will use one.

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Molly - Forum moderator. My dad's career as a geologist was interrupted by PD and LBD in 2009. I was a respite caregiver for my dad (lived out of state, but visited many times a year). He passed away peacefully in April 2014.


Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:22 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:51 pm
Posts: 10
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Thanks so much for your responses, Lynn and Molly. My father is currently living at home with his wife who is his primary caregiver. She receives 2 hours a support a day for personal care and extra hours on the weekend. My father has been falling a lot over the last year and it's a major concern for me. Furthermore, his family doctor does not know about these episodes and his caregiver is against seeing any specialists.

Another question: could these episodes have anything to do with low blood pressure? His BP has been consistently low over the last two months but it's not being treated.... just one of a long list of symptoms that I think could and should be treated. :(

_________________
My 72-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ~3 years ago but LBD strong suspected. His decline is advancing quickly (July 2014).


Last edited by Shay on Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:22 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:43 am
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 10:41 pm
Posts: 76
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Shay - My Dad's blood pressure fluctuated (and got very low at times) as a symptom of this disease as well, and the doctors thought it was one factor in his falls, so his wife monitored it. They did get him a pacemaker at one point, and I believe this was one reason for it.

_________________
Molly - Forum moderator. My dad's career as a geologist was interrupted by PD and LBD in 2009. I was a respite caregiver for my dad (lived out of state, but visited many times a year). He passed away peacefully in April 2014.


Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:11 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:51 pm
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Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Thanks, Molly. I'll pass along the information.

_________________
My 72-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ~3 years ago but LBD strong suspected. His decline is advancing quickly (July 2014).


Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:13 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3362
Location: Vermont
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
The falls could happen for any number of reasons. I don't think my dad's falls had anything to do with low BP since I don't think he ever had low BP. Based on what many others have said about their LOs poor balance and the resulting falls, it seems like a natural progression of the disease and not any 1 particular factor causing it (that anyone knows of or has mentioned).

That's too bad that his wife is not willing to pursue his seeing a specialist. Is there anyone she will listen to? If he is really far along the LBD path, an official dx of LBD may be a moot point anyway. I finally gave up trying to get a dx for my dad, and tried to make sure he was as comfortable mentally and physically as he could be. There was nothing to be gained by new meds (other than when he became extremely agitated in his final months).

Best, Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:57 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:51 pm
Posts: 10
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Thanks, Lynn. I guess part of me is trying to pinpoint something that can be treated and thus give my father some relief. As you all know, it's so hard to watch.

His caregiver trusts the family doctor and he is pushing to get an official LBD diagnosis from a specialist that was involved years ago. I instinctively think that it's too late for a diagnosis in terms of trying other medications. I'll wait and see if the GP can convince his caregiver to become reinvolved with the specialist.

I so appreciate the support. So difficult for everyone here. I'm very sorry for your loss.

_________________
My 72-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ~3 years ago but LBD strong suspected. His decline is advancing quickly (July 2014).


Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:45 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3362
Location: Vermont
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Hi Shay - I just reread your post at the beginning of this thread and I'm wondering if your LO has been evaluated by hospice. If he is barely eating and drinking plus sleeping most of the day and night, he may be in the final stage of life. Those are strong indications that he is shutting down, so it would be good to have the extra support of hospice at this point. If he "flunks" hospice, i.e., he is "too high functioning" to be accepted now, they will re-evaluate in the future. I think my dad flunked hospice twice before being accepted, despite the fact that he was very bad off physically and mentally all 3 times he was evaluated, plus he'd lost a huge amount of weight. That may give your step mom some needed respite and perhaps she will see things differently too, in terms of his care. Just a thought, Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:29 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:51 pm
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Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
Hi Lynn,

The symptoms of not eating and sleeping excessively are part of these spells he has that last 2-3 days. This month he has had two episodes. (He had lost a lot of weight about two years ago but has gained it back and maintained the weight.) Should I raise the issue of hospice or is it too early?

_________________
My 72-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ~3 years ago but LBD strong suspected. His decline is advancing quickly (July 2014).


Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:55 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3362
Location: Vermont
Post Re: "Fainting" spells ?? Common in LBD patients?
If he's consistently sleeping lots (maybe 15hr. or more a day), eating and drinking very little, I'd say yes, call hospice. It's worth a try. If it's only been a couple of days, there might be something short term going on, like an infection or who knows what. But if it's been a few weeks, I'd definitely want a hospice evaluation. Has he been checked for UTI or other common types of infections? Could it be a med that he's taking (allergy or other meds that are known for making people drowsy) that's making him sleep a lot? How much food and liquid is he actually getting in a day? Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:42 pm
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