May 21, 2009

Thyroid and Alzheimer's, Rose's Real Life Story

Last week, I wrote about the Thyroid and Alzheimer's. I was trying to make these points.
  • Hypothyroidism often presents as Alzheimer's or dementia in older people.
  • The importance of getting the Thyroid checked if you feel sluggish or depressed.
  • The importance of selecting a personal care physician that is very familiar with Alzheimer's, dementia, and other diseases that can be mistaken for Alzheimer's in older people.
Our reader Rose Lamatt, wrote and told me about her experience with Alzheimer's and the Thyroid. I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to read about Rose's real life experience.

Rose shows the importance of understanding your own body, and how it is often necessary to challenge doctor's in order to get to the bottom of a problem.

Her dramatic turnaround once the hypothyroidism was diagnosed, and the proper medication was prescribed is a remarkable story. Well worth reading and considering.

I wrote...
"The problem I see is that personal care physicians don't see or recognize the problem. This was the case with my mother, and I have seen the same problem over and over with others here in Delray Beach."
Rose Lamatt, reader and author of Just a Word. These are her words....

I have to agree with you Bob.

I had been having trouble with slight confusion, and dizziness. Now remember, I was a caregiver for fourteen years, worked at an adult day care center and an assisted living facility, so my first thought was beginning Alzheimer's.

Scared, you bet. I wanted to know. So, I went to my primary care physician, who sent me for an MRI with contrast. The results came back fine. I was happy. Still, I felt confused once in a while, especially when I went beyond a meal time.

My primary care physician sent me to Neurologist, who spent ten minutes with me. Read the MRI, said it looks good.

I told him of my worries of AD. He looked at me thinking, not saying 'you're nuts'. This was after he tested my walking, balance, and used pin pricks asking if I feel this and that.

When I told him of my concern for AD he laughed saying how many people he'd diagnosed with AD. I then asked him to give me an exam. I couldn't believe when he asked the same questions I had heard back in 1990 when my friend took the same test:
  • What day is it?
  • Who's president?
  • What month is it?
I'm sure you know the rest. I, in fact said, this is the same test they used in 1990. Then he went into a long dissertation of his knowledge of Alzheimer's disease, and I did not have it. He told me I had Migraines. Meanwhile I never mentioned anything of a headache.

You need to know I'm a hot headed Italian at times, especially when I'm being taken for a fool. I did tell him I was a caregiver to an Alzheimer's victim, but he didn't seem to care.

I went back to the primary care doctor who sent me to an Endocrinologist, who picked up Hashimoto's disease, Hypothyroidism. Boy, was I happy.

This is why I was so interested in your piece on Thyroid and Alzheimer's. After the third day on medication I saw a difference. No fatigue, no confusion, no dizziness, all over well feeling. It's now two weeks on the medication and I am writing again, which I love to do. I'm sure you know that though.

I just had to share this with you. I also believe we need to ban together and get these doctors more up to date on this disease.

Thank you so much for all you do, and don't forget to take care of yourself.
Rose Lamatt author of "Just a Word", Friends encounter Alzheimer's

Thanks Rose. Sometimes you gotta walk the extra mile. It isn't always easy, but sometimes the reward is great.

I feel certain after receiving private emails from readers that we are making a difference.

I want to encourage all readers to use the comments box below the articles.

If you would like to share your story, or experience, email me and I will post it for all readers to see. You would be amazed how shared experiences reminds all of us that -- we are not alone.

Related content.

Just a Word: Friends Encounter Alzheimer's

Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room