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Doctor says no problem?

(39 Posts)
love0c Tue 04-Feb-20 13:08:06

My son's Mil has been unwell for quite a few years now. She often appears to be not all there. Difficulty walking due to pains in her feet. Speech not quite right. Wavers all over the path when walking. Talks non stop even when no one is listening. Hard o make sense of what she is talking about. The doctors have tested for everything. I am worried she may have Huntington disease or similar. However, she has been tested and cleared of all main diseases like that. They have a baby girl and I guess I am worried mil may have something and it has been passed on. I find it strange the doctors say there is nothing wrong with her. I have witnessed her taking cough mixture as normal before going to bed? Any thoughts at all?

Hetty58 Tue 04-Feb-20 13:55:14

How old is the Mil, love0c?

Hetty58 Tue 04-Feb-20 14:01:58

2nd thought - does she drink?

It could be that her pains and apparent disabilities are due to her mental (rather than physical) health.

My own mother 'couldn't' walk far or exert herself and suffered all kinds of symptoms from about the age of 40. She was on 20 different medications too. When she was 89 a new doctor got her down to half a dozen meds - and told me it was all in her head!

M0nica Tue 04-Feb-20 16:05:40

If it was Huntington's disease, then there would be a history of it in her family. It is an entirely hereditary disease and, sadly abut 50% of family members inherit the gene, So unless there is a very clear history of it in the family, I would stop worrying about that.

I would agree with Hetty that alcohol could be a possibility. Someone who is quite a heavy drinker need not smell of alcohol.

My DH had an elderly aunt we visited and cared for. We knew she enjoyed a drink, but it was only when she was rushed to hospital with liver failure, we realised just how much she was drinking. She was having a hefty whisky mid morning, another at lunch time, one with afternoon tea, at supper and when she went to bed, yet I never once noticed her smelling of alcohol, except for a short period (minutes) immediately after a drink.

I also agree that they could be psychosomatic, whichdoen't mean she can snap out of her illness, the causes are essentially mental.

But forget Huntingdons disease. If that was in the family you would know.

Davida1968 Tue 04-Feb-20 16:47:43

"But forget Huntingdons disease. If that was in the family you would know." Not necessarily, I am sorry to say. See:

love0c Tue 04-Feb-20 21:31:08

Yes she did/does? drink. My dil says it is for attention. I worry there may be something actually wrong. She did used to be a nurse so would know the symptoms of diseases. She has recently told me that they are now testing her for huntingtons chorea. But if the doctors have tested for huntingtons then how could she have huntingtons chorea. Is she lying? as I said she would now the symptoms herself. She is 64.

M0nica Tue 04-Feb-20 23:08:06

David reread my post, Huntingdon's disease is hereditary and even, if the name has never been mentioned, there will be a history, like that described in this article of family members suffering from some kind of degenerative disease.

In the OP's case, except for this one lady, who is ill now, she does not mention any family history, it is just one person with a problem, and from the OP, if there was any probability of Huntingdon's that would have been screened out.

Whether you know the name of the disease or not, if someone has it there will be a family history.

welbeck Tue 04-Feb-20 23:33:55

could it be some kind of dementia.
often not being able to walk correctly and talk at the same time is an early indicator, also loss of sense of smell.

annodomini Tue 04-Feb-20 23:58:36

Surely they will have done brain scans to rule out Motor Neurone Disease? The indistinct speech could be a sign. But for everyone's sake, I hope not.

love0c Wed 05-Feb-20 08:13:34

MN, MS Parkinsons all been ruled out. Surely the doctor would have looked at dementia. Maybe they think it is in her head but she is not telling s that.

Ginny42 Wed 05-Feb-20 08:38:02

Whatever it is, it sounds alarming to me. She sounds quite poorly. Pains in her feet and unable to walk properly - could it be neuropathy? That pain is very sharp nerve pain. Her indistinct speech is a worry. A second opinion perhaps with a total body check?

MissAdventure Wed 05-Feb-20 08:55:18

There is a type of dementia specific to drinkers, called 'wet brain' (not sure what the proper term is, sorry)

My friends daughter developed it in her late 30s.

I wonder if it could be that?

Notthatoldyet9 Wed 05-Feb-20 10:21:52

Sounds like an alcoholic to me but the point is it is up to her daughter to deal with the doctors
Seems a bit churlish you are prioritising the genetic possibilities in a grandchild
Even if she has a 'condition' what are you going to do about it !

jaylucy Wed 05-Feb-20 10:27:59

It is not normal to drink cough medicine every day before bed and depending on which one, there are still some that are available over the counter that can become addictive over time. I very much doubt if she has told her GP that she does this either!
I also wonder if that is actually cough medicine or has been replaced by alcohol ?

Alexa Wed 05-Feb-20 10:28:18

Sedative cough mixtures have codeine in them and can cause addiction. I had a nice old man patient who was addicted to it. I doubt if this type of sedative cough mixture can be bought over the counter, although perhaps it can, for all I know.

Pains in feet / lower legs and consequent lameness can be caused by circulatory failure often caused by smoking.

If the doctors can't diagnose what is wrong with her you are unlikely to do so. Perhaps ask for a second opinion from another doctor? Is she accompanied to the consultation? If so , why not mention the cough mixture? Can you get a sample of it to show to your pharmacist?

mothertrucker52 Wed 05-Feb-20 10:53:50

My mum was put on statins for high cholesterol and some of the side effects were confusion, leg pains and numbness in her feet which caused her to fall a lot. I persuaded her to stop taking them and adjust her diet but although the confusion disappeared her legs and feet were never right again

Riggie Wed 05-Feb-20 11:05:33

My thoughts went to Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. This causes amongst other things walking issues and a form of dementia - both of which disappear once the NPH is treated (surgery,) Its often mistaken for other issues.

MarieEliza Wed 05-Feb-20 11:26:48

Ask to be referred to a neurologist. This specialist treats psychological problems as well as possible physical symptoms and works out the treatment

BladeAnnie Wed 05-Feb-20 11:37:31

Korsacoff is the type of dementia which can be brought on by alcohol misuse (not in all cases though) but does cause problems with gait, confusion etc

ExD1938 Wed 05-Feb-20 11:49:19

I once worked with a man who was hooked on Benylin cough mixture ........ ?
Have we been told her age, and I missed it?

Phloembundle Wed 05-Feb-20 11:52:42

Some types of dementia cannot be definitively diagnosed until post mortem.

BazingaGranny Wed 05-Feb-20 11:58:05

What ‘doctors’ has this poor woman seen? We discovered that a neighbour who was very poorly had not seen a consultant or other specialist but had been fobbed off by the local GP surgery for several years, the GP’s had their own rationing system, I’m afraid.

Regarding Huntingdons, a very small percentage of patients do not have an affected family member:

Huntington disease is a genetic disorder. It is passed on from parents to children. ... If the child doesn't develop the disease, he or she won't pass it along to his or her children. For 1% to 3% of people with Huntington disease, no family history of the disorder is ever identified. › ...
Huntington's Disease | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Aepgirl Wed 05-Feb-20 12:01:53

Yes, it could be the cough medicine.
I had a carpet fitter who made a real hash of fitting my carpet - including nailing a corner with a 6” nail that punctured the central heating pipe. It was later that I was asked by the company who supplied the carpet if I had bought him some cough medicine (Gees linctus) which I had, at his request. Apparently he was ‘hooked’ on it which affected his ability to work.

Gingergirl Wed 05-Feb-20 12:24:57

Unless you are very close to this lady,personally, I wouldn’t get too involved. Your daughter in law will no doubt follow anything up if need be. Even if we have a vested interest, we can’t control someone else’s life.

Camelotclub Wed 05-Feb-20 12:27:58

Some types of dementia can cause non-stop talking with no meaning. Found this online:
Abnormalities of speech seen in advanced dementia include perseveration (the patient continues to give the answer to the previous question in response to new questions), palilalia (when the last word of a question is repeated with increasing frequency), logoclonia (when the last syllable is repeated), and logorrhea (a meaningless outpouring of words.