Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Strange symptoms that come and go

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: HappyGrams06
  • March 12, 2009
  • 11:07 AM

My mother is 67 years old. For about the last two years she has been experiencing strange symptoms a couple of times a month that last about 30 minutes to about an hour. Not all the symptoms come each time. She gets weakness in all of her limbs, balance problems, sometimes she can't move her limbs, sometimes she can't get into bed, she has difficulty communicating a complete sentence or thought, feels very scared during these "attacks". In addition, she has been getting increasingly reclusive. She doesn't want to leave the house and she is irritable.
Any ideas what these strange symptoms could be?

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4 Replies:

  • Sorry your mom is poorly, now this is pure guess but google TIA (mini strokes) & see if it rings any bells. I have an elderly aunt & this was happening to her, just sounds familiar, it may not be this. I hope your mom improves asap. Best wishes...:)
    Tootsie 628 Replies Flag this Response
  • My mother is 67 years old. For about the last two years she has been experiencing strange symptoms a couple of times a month that last about 30 minutes to about an hour. Not all the symptoms come each time. She gets weakness in all of her limbs, balance problems, sometimes she can't move her limbs, sometimes she can't get into bed, she has difficulty communicating a complete sentence or thought, feels very scared during these "attacks". In addition, she has been getting increasingly reclusive. She doesn't want to leave the house and she is irritable.Any ideas what these strange symptoms could be? Please list ALL of the medications she is currently taking. It is not unusual at that age to be on multiple medications and side effects/drug interactions can cause all of these symptoms. This is often overlooked by doctors. Has she had blood work done? She needs her B12 levels tested, and she needs to know exactly what the number is (if it is under 500 she should be supplementing with methylcobalamin B12). Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies Flag this Response
  • HappyGrams,The signs & symptoms you describe, particularly as they occur sporadically, could well be indicative of TIA's, as Tootsie said. When these occur, have you noticed a greater weakness on one side of her body...and does her speech become slurred as well as difficult?As acuann said above...side effects/toxicity from medications is also a very real possibility. This is a very frequent occurrence in older folks as the liver gradually loses its efficiency in eliminating the drugs. There's also a concern that your Mom may be exhibiting early signs of a neurological disorder, such as Alzheimer's Disease, but in this scenario the signs & symptoms are most often not as sporadic as you describe. Have you noticed an increasing frequency and/or length of time these symptoms last? Tell us more.Regards,John
    JonMac 165 Replies Flag this Response
  • While vascular factors are a good consideration, it is rare that such a short refractory period would accompany the range of deficit being described during the events. With such a broad range of effects, it would be prudent to have a sleep-deprived EEG performed to determine whether partial seizure disorder is occurring. Realize that in many instances, clonic or muscle spasm activity is not necessary for seizure activity of the type mentioned and many times, these events go undiagnosed for that reason. Changes in the brain of elderly persons can induce circumstances for this type of seizure activity to occur. From a vascular standpoint, if lab studies reveal normal prothrombin and partial prothrombin values, as well as imaging studies to confirm the absence or presence of small lacunar infarcts or strokes, together with doppler studies to make certain that thrombosis of the lower extremities is not occurring, then the need for an EEG rises sharply in such instances. Changes in personality may also be suggestive of neurodegenerative changes. A referral to a neurologist, particularly a behavioral neurologist, would be very beneficial to determine the possible presence of such a disorder and the EEG can be performed by this specialist as well. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies Flag this Response
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