I am 80 years old, trying to finish preparing to move to Florida, generally good health (take blood pressure and small dosage cholesterol and follow diabetic diet but blood sugar under control without meds). The challenge of sorting, gathering, packing, constant decisions of moving 900 miles to new residence (a positive, welcome move, but the move itself is awful) apparently made my bp go up drastically about 10 days ago. Received a second bp drug and an anxiety drug. Am now on Cymbalta 60 mg (long term) + Benicar (new) + Lorazepam 0.5 mg (new) + Amlodipine 5 mg (new), as well as Levothyroxidine 0.025mg (longterm). I have been even more absent-minded than usual, cannot get things finished (seem to have Adult ADD most of the time, anyway). A couple of times in the past two weeks I have felt somewhat “outside of myself” or “unreal” and afraid of beginning Alzheimer’s symptoms. Today I got out of my car to meet some friends in a restaurant, locked my car, turned off headlights, took my purse, went inside and much later looked out and saw exhaust coming from my car. I had left my key in the ignition and the motor running. Never did that before! I am concerned that either I am actually showing signs of dementia or at least have a drug reaction conflict. (My husband died from dementia 3 years ago, and I am naturally acutely concerned about dementia in myself. Can you give me some advice at least about the drugs? Thank you for any help.
Thank you for writing in with your concerns. There is a big chance that the changes you are going through in preparing to move away is causing your problems. Stress can lead to concentration and memory problems, and even though this decision is a positive one, it is still very stressful. However, any time that new symptoms appear following a medication change or addition, it’s always important to look into possible side effects and drug interactions. The best people to talk to about these concerns would be your pharmacist and your physician. Be sure to let them know what are experiencing as well as when the issues began.
In the meantime, it would be good to build in some strategies to help you through this transition. Be sure to take breaks, get plenty of sleep, eat well and keep yourself hydrated. Also, keep a “To Do” list, a schedule or calendar and just try to get in the general habit of writing things down. Add extra time into your plans for double checking things such as locking your house, your car, directions to a new place, etc. Make sure you have extra keys in several places (or give an extra set to a friend or family member) because it’s easy to misplace things when you are packing and changing normal routines. Finally, always make sure you have a phone on you in case of emergencies, even if you are out working in your yard or garage, and be willing to ask for help from those around you.
I wish you luck with this endeavor and hope that things go well for you. Enjoy Florida!
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts