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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Headaches as a Symptom of Alzheimer's Disease
My mother has alzheimer`s and she has complained about headaches for about two weeks. I took her to her neurologist and they ordered and MRI. The MRI showed nothing to the contrary. Is this just a phase she is going thru thinking she has a headache but really does not?
Thanks for your question. I have not seen headaches as a common feature that we would associate specifically with the Alzheimer's diagnosis. Alzheimer's patients can sometimes complain of their head feeling "thick" or "foggy" but usually not pain. I would recommend that you try using over the counter medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and if this is not effective in relieving the headache to consult with the neurologist about other medications that can treat headaches.
With the recent heat wave, we are encouraging our families to make sure our dementia patients remain well hydrated, as the excessive heat can contribute to dehydration and general feelings of malaise and contribute to increased confusion. Don't hesitate to continue asking questions of your Neurologist and possibly Primary Care Physician, as concerns arise. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be challenging!
Rebecca A Davis, RN, LISW
Clinical Research Nurse of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University