Can a cold cause weakness in an Alzheimer's patient?

Louiseb asked...

My husband has early to mid stage Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Three months ago he had a bad cold and has been extremely weak since. Could this be the AD or something else? Three months is a long time to be weak from a cold. Could it be that the AD weakness just started after the cold? He had been walking about 1 mile per day. Now he can barely make 1/4 mile.

Expert Answer

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

Wow! That is indeed a long time to be in a weakened condition from a head cold. I would definitely suggest you check with your MD to see if something else might be going on medically. The difficulty lies in the patient's inability to articulate any symptoms he may be experiencing.There may have been a co-existing physical problem occurring at the same time as when the cold signs first manifest and this other entity may have been masked by the cold. A trip to your PCP could be worthwhile.

With many people in the mid stage of AD, a medical or physical occurrence does appear to hasten other symptoms such as less stamina which seems to be what you are reporting. The AD person's cognitive and physical body seem to not bounce back as quickly as in the pre-morbid state. I think it is well worth the time to have your physician evaluate your husband to rule out other causes for this change; if nothing is found, then you can more readily accept that it may be the disease itself that is speeding up the progression.

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