Tips For Lowering Risk Of Stroke And Heart Disease:
- Maintain a healthful diet, drink plenty of water, and get regular exercise and at least 8 hours of sleep
- Be evaluated and treated for conditions known to cause stroke and heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
- No cigarette smoking
- Use migraine preventive strategies. In addition to decreasing attacks of migraine aura and headache, this may also prevent stroke. In addition to the traditional migraine preventives, ask your doctor whether meds, which in addition to decreasing inflammation, decrease clotting , or repair the endothelium are right for you
- Avoid use of estrogen containing contraceptives, especially if you smoke or have a personal or family history of blood clots. Progestogen-contraception has less risk.
- Avoid chiropractic manipulation of the neck, in order to decrease risk of cervical artery dissection
- Do not use triptans or other medications that constrict blood vessels if you have a history of heart disease or stroke, or if you have attacks weakness on one side vertigo and gait imbalance .
Similarities Between Alzheimers And Migraines
Alzheimers and migraines are both thought to be related to brain chemistry and nerve pathways. As such, it makes sense that they would have some symptoms in common.
Most of the similarities between symptoms occur before and after a migraine attack, known as the pre-and post-drome stages. Pre- and post-drome symptoms include, but arent limited to:
- Difficulty focusing
- Loss of coordination
- Sensitivity to non-painful stimuli
These symptoms have a lot in common with the early warning signs of Alzheimers disease.
There are also similarities between comorbidities. People with Alzheimers and migraines are both more likely than average to suffer from conditions including:
- High blood pressure
The number of similar symptoms and comorbidities suggest that there may be a link between Alzheimers and migraines. But what does the research actually show?
What Are The Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia
The symptoms of vascular dementia depend on the location and amount of brain tissue involved. Vascular dementia symptoms may appear suddenly after a stroke, or gradually over time. Symptoms may get worse after another stroke, a heart attack, or major surgery. These are signs and symptoms of vascular dementia
- Increased trouble carrying out normal daily activities because of problems with concentration, communication, or inability to carry out instructions
- Memory problems, although short-term memory may not be affected
- Confusion, which may increase at night
- Stroke symptoms, such as sudden weakness and trouble with speech
- Personality changes
- Mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- Stride changes when walking too fast, shuffling steps
- Problems with movement and/or balance
- Urinary problems, such as urgency or incontinence
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How Is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your healthcare provider may order some of the following:
- Computed tomography . This imaging test uses X-rays and a computer to make horizontal, or axial images of the brain. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
- FDG-PET scan. This is a PET scan of the brain that uses a special tracer to light up regions of the brain.
- Electroencephalogram . This test measures electrical activity in the brain
- Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of the brain.
- Neuropsychological assessments. These tests can help sort out vascular dementia from other types of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Neuropsychiatric evaluation. This may be done to rule out a psychiatric condition that may resemble dementia.
Do Migraines Cause Alzheimers
The above research shows that there may be a link between migraines and Alzheimers disease. Even so, its always important to remember that correlation doesnt equal causation.
Dont assume that struggling with migraines means youll develop Alzheimers later in life. Regardless, it may be wise to take steps to improve your overall brain health.
The number one doctors recommendation to prevent memory loss later in life is to exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet. Other research shows that getting enough sleep, learning new things, and staying socially active can all be of benefit.
Its impossible to guarantee that making the above lifestyle changes will protect you from Alzheimers. Be that as it may, they will help you to live a longer, healthier life and may even reduce your migraines in the process.
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Causes And Signs Of Untreated Pain In Dementia
Experts estimate that at least 50% of people living with dementia experience daily pain, and research suggests that in those who have chronic pain, cognitive decline is likely to progress more quickly.
There are two ways that dementia can cause or worsen pain:
- Neurological changes associated with the underlying disease can affect pain centers in the brain.
- Cognitive decline may make a person unable to communicate their pain.
In the latter case, the pain can stem from a separate health condition that may go un- or undertreated. These conditions most often include osteoarthritis, urinary tract infections, falls, and pressure sores, all of which can cause significant pain.
Some research suggests that people with dementia may experience pain differently than those whose cognition is intact, while other experts argue that increased pain stems primarily from a reduced capability to express that pain. In either case, researchers tend to agree that people with dementia have a high risk of being under-treated for pain.
How Is Vascular Dementia Treated
Vascular dementia can’t be cured. The main goal is to treat the underlying conditions that affect the blood flow to the brain. This can help cut the risk of further damage to brain tissue.
Such treatments may include:
- Medicines to manage blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, diabetes, and problems with blood clotting
- Lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, getting physical activity, quitting smoking, and quitting or decreasing alcohol consumption
- Procedures to improve blood flow to the brain, such as carotid endarterectomy, angioplasty, and stenting the carotid arteries are located in the neck and provide blood flow from the heart to the brain
- Medicines, such as cholinesterase inhibitors to treat the symptoms of dementia or antidepressants to help with depression or other symptoms
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Caring For Someone With Alzheimers Disease
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimers and migraines is a challenge, and no one should have to do it alone. Thats why Seasons Memory Care provides state-of-the-art community living for those with memory loss.
Even though their memories may fade, each of our clients is an individual with special interests, talents, and preferences. We take the time to learn about what makes each resident unique and take steps to help them feel comfortable, happy, and safe.
If youd like to talk with someone about your options for long-term care, assisted living, or an Alzheimers support group, please contact us today. Wed love to talk with you about how we can help provide the best service and care for your family.
Migraines Associated With All
Migraines may be a significant risk factor for all-cause dementia, Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia, according to the results of a study recently published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
As the global population ages, the prevalence of agerelated conditions, such as dementia, will continue to rise. Although dementia is the most common neurological disease in older adults, headaches are the most common neurological disorder across all ages, affecting almost half of the global population of adults, Rebecca E. Morton, MD, from the School of Public Health and Health Systems From the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario and colleagues wrote in the study. The relationship between migraines and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia , has not yet been clearly established and has the potential to inform prevention and treatment as well as further understanding of the etiology of these disorders.
Dementia illustration. Source: Getty
Although dementia is the most common neurological disease among older adults and headaches, including migraines are the most common neurological disorder across all age groups, there is little evidence linking the two. To explore the relationship between migraines and dementia, Morton and colleagues conducted analyses based on 679 participants from the population-based, prospective, Manitoba Study of Health and Aging.
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Future Research Into Conditions That Affect The Brain
While much has been discovered about migraines and dementia, there is a vast quantity of research that still needs to be done. As more is learned about each condition, additional doorways open up to having more knowledge about the complex workings of the brain.
It is important to be aware of current information, as the knowledge base is growing rapidly. I urge caution as well. Sometimes studies are misreported or conducted by researchers who are more interested in profits than in pure science. Keep in mind that we know more now than we did 10 years ago and that with each passing day we know more than we did the day before. That can give us hope for preventing, treating, and living with these complex conditions.
Whats The Link Between Migraines And Brain Lesions
Experts arenât sure why migraines are linked with brain lesions. But these things may play a role:
- Blood clots and shortages. Migraine attacks may lower blood flow and pressure. They can also cause blood vessels to shrink. This sets the stage for tiny blood clots or a lack of blood to certain areas of the brain.
- Tissue damage. During a migraine, the nerves in your brain kind of go haywire. They may work overtime and become inflamed.
- Heart problems. Migraines are linked to two heart conditions: Patent foramen ovale is a hole in the heart. Mitral valve prolapse is when heart valves donât close fully, which may can cause a small leak. Both issues may lead to lesions.
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Having A Hard Time Managing Money
One of the classic early signs of Alzheimers disease is an increasing difficulty with money management. This might start off as having trouble balancing a checkbook or keeping up with expenses or bills, but as the disease progresses, poor financial decisions are often made across the board. Though many people brush this symptom off as just a normal part of aging, they shouldnt. We tend to associate aging with losing your mind. Thats not healthy aging its a disease, emphasizes Rankin.
Migraines And Alzheimers Link
Migraines are recurring headaches that can be moderate to severe in pain. They fall under the primary headache disorder category and most often affect people between the ages of 35 and 45, according to the World Health Organization . Migraines are also more likely to affect women.
The WHO notes that migraines are typically caused by the release of inflammation in the nerves and blood vessels around the head. Migraine with aura , in particular, has been identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Past research has found connections between migraines and dementia risk. Though scientists still arent sure whats behind this link, it may have something to do with vascular risk factors. Past research has also found that vascular risk factors, like hypertension and diabetes, can increase your risk of dementia.
Researchers also discovered in recent years that long-term migraines may change brain structure and have destructive effects. A 2013 study published in Neurology examined how migraines contributed to structural brain changes, including white matter abnormalities, infarct-like lesions and volumetric changes in gray and white matter.
The researchers of the latest study hope that further solidifying evidence and understanding behind the migraine and dementia link may provide more information in the future for understanding Alzheimers disease.
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Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment
This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:
- Forgetting where one has placed an object
- Forgetting names that were once very familiar
Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.
Dementia And Vertigo: Are They Linked
To understand how these disorders are linked, you first need to know something about your brain. Your cerebellum is the part of your brain that controls your body movements. When there is a problem with this part of your brain, it can cause balance issues, like vertigo.
Because of this, episodes of vertigo are sometimes the first sign that you may be getting dementia. This is especially true when talking about vascular dementia and Alzheimers disease because they affect the balance center of your brain.
When you consider vertigo, vascular dementia is the one type of dementia that should come to your mind. This is because, with this disease, theres a problem getting oxygenated blood to flow to your cerebellum. Because this part of your brain is vital to body movement, any disruption in blood flow can cause you to feel as though youre spinning, along with episodes of dizziness.
With vascular dementia, vertigo is one of the first symptoms youll experience before any of the other signs begin to show. Alzheimers disease is similar because vertigo may be one of the earlier signs you may experience. Theres a specific form of this disease called posterior cortical atrophy, affecting your cerebellum, leading to vertigo and balance problems.
When youve had enough of constant forgetfulness, call our office at 732-856-5999 to make an appointment or schedule a consultation online today.
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Know Your Specific Triggers
For instance, one of my biggest triggers is cervical tension especially when driving, traveling, or writing on the computer for hours. Another specific trigger for me and many others with migraines is skipping a meal which sometimes due to severe nausea or gastroparesis from PD. PD meds can make eating a difficult thing.
Can You Prevent Brain Lesions
Scientists are still looking for ways to protect against brain lesions. They think keeping your migraines in check can help. Having frequent attacks is linked with a higher risk of lesions, so fending off migraines or treating them early on may help lower your risk. These simple steps could help:
- Talk to your doctor. You may need to take medicine or get treatments, like Botox injections, to head off migraines.
- Know your triggers. Bright lights, weather changes, and certain foods could set off your migraines. Once you know your triggers, you can learn to avoid them.
- Keep a lid on stress. Make time to unwind and do things you enjoy every day.
- Get moving. Exercise eases tension and boosts blood flow to the brain, which can help stave off headaches. Research also shows that physical activity may prevent white matter lesions.
- Practice good sleep habits. A bad night could set off an attack. Try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time.
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Falling More Frequently Than You Used To
Constantly tripping over your own two feet? Everyone falls now and again but frequent falling could be an early signal of Alzheimers disease, according to research. A study published in July 2013 in the journal Neurology found that presumptive preclinical Alzheimers disease is a risk factor for falls in older adults. People will come into our office concerned because they forgot what was on their grocery list last week, but when their spouse says theyve fallen four times in the past year, thats a sign of a problem, says Rankin. Frequent falls may also be a symptom of other brain disorders, including progressive supranuclear palsy.
Challenges In Pain Management
The primary challenge in managing pain in patients with dementia stems from the inability of the person to describe what they’re feeling. Based on just behaviors and reactions alone, it can difficult to tell the difference between a source of physical pain, such as pain related to a condition, hunger, or needing to use the bathroom, versus an emotional pain, such as loneliness or boredom.
Another challenge for pain management in this population stems from caregiver inability to properly assess or treat the pain, which could lead to a misdiagnosis. A person could be diagnosed as being anxious or depressed and prescribed psychotropic medicationswhich ultimately cannot help if the suffering is not due to an underlying mental health condition.
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Are Headaches And Dementia Linked
Youd be hard-pushed to find a tangible link between headaches being a direct symptom of dementia. However, a study which took place at the Department of Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway, did, in fact, show a link that headaches could be a factor in the development of the disease rather than a symptom of the disease itself.
In the study, 50,000 people provided headache data. The correlation between headache and dementia was most evident among those who experienced 15 or more headaches per month, and for those ages 75 and older.
Within the group, those that experienced any headache, whether it was a small scale or a full migraine, were suggested to be 2.3 times more likely to develop vascular dementia, and twice as likely to develop mixed dementia.
While this sounds very worrying, the authors were keen to stress that not all headache sufferers with headache symptoms will go on to develop dementia. Instead, they felt the study highlighted the need for more research to be done into the area to prove anything conclusive.
Dealing With Headaches And Dementia
Whether its a dull ache or a temple-splitting torment, headaches are never a pleasant thing to experience.
While direct links between headaches as a symptom of dementia are hazy at best for many people living with dementia, and those caring for them, persistent headaches can be a real blight on their daily lives.
Of course, the truth is, most people suffer from the odd headache and even migraines from time to time. And all sorts of causes can be at play, from stress to aching muscles, emotional distress to immune system fighting a bug, lack of sleep to increased brain processing. But, when people with dementia feel headache symptoms coming on, its often not as simple as taking some paracetamol and hoping the pain subsides.
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