I wish I could shout this from the mountain top: “when Alzheimer’s or dementia present themselves get the thyroid checked”.
About a year ago, I read an article on hypothyroidism and posted it to this blog. The article described the symptoms of hypothyroidism and how it is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women only. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include: forgetfulness, weight gain, depression, dry skin, and fatigue. All of these were present in my mother. As a result, I asked our personal physician to check my mother’s thyroid. Sure enough she was suffering from a sluggish thyroid. He prescribed levothyroxine.
The results of the medication for us were remarkable. Within a couple of months my mother started to smile more often. Next thing I knew, my mother started to experience an occasional hearty laugh. Something she had not done in years. If you are a caregiver, like me, you will understand how frustrating it can be when your loved one stops laughing and smiling. I believe you will understand how wonderful I felt when I heard my mother laugh for the first time in years. My mother continues to smile with greater frequency and I can tell you she went for years without a smile before the introduction of the drug. An additional benefit included a slow but gradual loss of weight(about 8 pounds so far). We were fortunate that we read the article on hypothyroidism. If you, a friend, or a loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s please get the thyroid checked closely.
In the book The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems the authors discuss in detail physical problems that can and do effect memory. The book is worth obtaining. It is full of beneficial information and resources.
I am not trying to mislead you here. The prescribed drug did not cure my mother’s Alzheimer’s. But, there is quite a bit of research which indicates that hypothyroidism can present as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Original content the Alzheimer’s Reading Room
Previously on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room.