Problem eating and swallowing?

AnnieILAugust 11, 2004

My husband has early Alzheimer's. He seems to have developed a strange symptom--After he has one or two forksful of food--any kind (except liquids.i.e. soup) he begins to choke and spit up LOADS of mucous,(sorry I don't know how else to explain it). This goes on for sometimes 2-3 hours. Where could all this mucous come from? And what causes this strange thing? He absolutely refuses to see a doctor. He seems able to digest soft boiled eggs and toast in the a.m. and soup for lunch; also ice cream, cookies (?). I am at my wits end as he is not getting nourishing food. I thought, and perhaps someone can confirm, that his brain is not synchronized with swallowing the food and this could be the cause. I sure would appreciate any input from members in the health profession. It does not "appear" to be GERD, from what I have read about that. Thanks for any help. Annieil

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One problem that is fairly common with the AD patient is that the body "forgets" automatic things like swallowing. That could be the problem, may be something else. If you can't get him in to see the doctor, please call and tell him what's happening. There may be something that you can do to help the situation. He needs to be aware of what's going on with your husband.

Gerd can cause what you describe. The stomach acid triggers spasms in the esophogus and bronchi that cause choking and coughing.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 9:09PM
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Problems in swallowing are common with Alzheimers; my friend cared for his mother in his home the last three years of her life with Alzheimers + mild Parkinsons, menus that she could swallow, not choke on, while maintaining nutrition were a major issue.
If you type 'swallowing alzheimers' into a search engine like MSN you will find all kinds of sites to read...but you really need to discuss it with his doctor. An Alzheimers organization or support group would have helpful information for you too....Best wishes...M

Here is a link that might be useful: swallowing

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 12:17AM
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Thank you for the information and suggestions. Am seeing my own physician Monday and hope to elicit additional info from him. My husband has not seen a Dr. (other than ophthalmologist) in 30 years! I don't know what he is afraid of, but it has to be something. Annieil

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 9:46AM
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Please have your doctor help you to arrange an evaluation and thorough physical for your husband; there are too many things, many treatable, that could mimic early alzheimers to even try to list...depression, low Vit B, goes on and on.

And if it should truly be alzheimers, there is drug therapy that can be helpful even then...Good Luck...M

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 11:24AM
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Oh, my, he hasn't seen a doctor in years? Then please don't just assume that he has Alzheimers. There are some correctable conditions that can give similar symtoms.

Talk to your doctor. He may have some advice as to how you can get him to a doctor. Go ahead and make an appointment for him. Maybe by that time you can get him there by pretending that you want him to go with YOU for an appointment for YOU. Then once you get him in the office, hope for the best.

Good luck

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 11:43PM
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And although it's very unlikely, difficulty swallowing is a signal of cancer of the esophygus. Do try to get him to see a doctor.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 6:01AM
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Maybe you could tell him that his doctor called and they want to see him in the office. I know it's deceiving, but it might be life saving. If it's the "doctor's order" then you might be able to get him into the office (of course informing the doctor ahead of time the reason you are bringing him in.)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 11:21PM
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Annie, if you read this post again, how old is your husband and how is he doing?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 11:15PM
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Our son convinced him to see my doctor. My husband would not admitto the dr. he has ANY problems. The EKG and cholesterol is o.k.; but other than checking his lungs with the stethescope, the dr. didn't order any other tests.
He did recognize my husband's mind status; and ordered Aricept. We have to order our drugs by mail so it will be about 2 weeks before he begins taking the med. A nurse acquaintance said Aricept can be good if given early enough. I hope it isn't too late. My husband denies he has ANY problems other than slight memory loss!
Can only wait and see how the Aricept works and then get him back to the dr. if he will go? Thank you for the interest. Will keep you posted in a few weeks.Annieil

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 1:46PM
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