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I am a 34 year old female. I have been suffering from daily

headaches, joint pain, extreme tiredness...
I am a 34 year old female. I have been suffering from daily headaches, joint pain, extreme tiredness, confusion, struggling to pronounce words and slurred speech, for past six months. Blood work shows nothing but elevated levels of inflammation. CT scan shows brain atrophy particularly in frontal lobe. Neurologists comment was that my brain is currently comparable to someone with early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Recently had EEG that came back "abnormal". Neurologist has only diagnosed me with cerebellar atrophy and tells me he feels this is due to chronic alcohol consumption. However I rarely drink, and never drink to access. I can not comprehend how the small amounts of alcohol I have consumed could cause the atrophy. Doctor also feels my joint pain and exhaustion is only due to poor diet but I feel I eat well, am a healthy weight, and have paid even closer attention to my eating habits since health issues arose in the hopes that this truly was a simple solution. I am I satisfied with my Doctor's evaluation of my symptoms and the lack of follow up from him. I would like to know what caused the atrophy, should I be concerned that the atrophy will progress, are my other symptoms related?
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
8/22/2013
Dr. Charles
Dr. Charles, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,205
Experience: Internal medicine specialist
Verified
Dear customer,
I am Dr.Charles and I’m happy to help with your question today .I need the following information from you,so that I can provide you the complete & best answer:
Have you undergone any tests for joint pain?
Were you prescribed with any medications to treat this?
Any family history of Alzheimer's Disease?
I am online and is waiting for your reply.
Kind Regards-
Dr. Charles
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
I have had no tests done for joint pain beyond the initial round of blood work which the Neurologist stated only showed elevated levels of inflammation.
I was tested for Lyme Disease at my request and the results were negative.
Prescribed Desipramine 25 MG two times a day to help with headaches.
Grandmother has Alzheimer's. Other than that I am not aware of further family history.
Dear *****,
Thanks for the valuable info you had given.I’ve taken a close look at your question & the reply and come up with the following answer:
Frontal lobe atrophy means that there is a reduction in size of the frontal lobe, the foremost area of the brain. The frontal lobe of the brain plays a key role in higher mental functions such as motivation, planning, social behaviour, and speech production.The cell damage caused by frontal atrophy leads to tissue shrinkage and reduced function in the brain's frontal area.
The exact cause is not known.Lot of research is going on.A variety of mutations on several different genes have been linked to frontal atrophy.There can be abnormal deposits of several proteins inside the brain cells.As your grand mother has Alzheimer's,there can be link to this but exactly nothing can be confirmed.
As frontal lobe atrophy progresses, you may start to develop movement disorders and more obvious neurological deficits.Over time, the degeneration may advance to the temporal lobe.It inevitably gets worse,usually over several years.
Yes,your symptoms are related to your diagnosis which is confirmed by MRI scan & EEG & other tests & examination.
It would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me where I provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.
Currently, there is no cure for frontal lobe atrophy and no effective way to slow its progression.Treatments are available to manage the behavioral symptoms.
Some types of antidepressants, such as trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro), may reduce the behavioral problems. Antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs are the chief medications used to treat behavioral symptoms. None of these drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in atrophy of frontal lobe.
I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope and I agree with your doctors to have healthy diet & avoid alcohol,regular exercise may slow down the progress of atrophy & take symptomatic treatment.
Hope this helped
Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond.
Thank you! *****
Dr. Charles
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Thank you very much for your response and answers. I do have another question. Although the CT scan showed atrophy in the frontal lobe the neurologist diagnosed me with cerebellar atrophy, not frontal lobe atrophy. My understanding is that the cerebellar is a small area located at the base of the brain, and this area controls motor skills. My motor skills have not been affected and the scan does not seem to show any atrophy in the cerebellar area. The neurologist also seems unconcerned about the atrophy and comments that I should not worry about it and should focus on what I do have control over, such as my diet to help with inflammation and joint pain.
My understanding of your response is that if the scan shows atrophy in the frontal lobe this would explain my confusion and slurring of words, is this correct? And that I can assume that atrophy of my brain will most likely progress?
Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Appreciated the initial responses but have been waiting a number of hours for clarification on my last message.
NURSE KAREN
NURSE KAREN, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 211
Experience: REGISTERED NURSE WITH MANY AREAS OF CLINICAL EXPERTISE
Verified
Hi. Sorry you were left waiting.
You are correct in the fact that "cerebellar" is used to describe an association to the cerebellum which is located at the base of the brain and it controls balance and movement. If the scan showed no atrophy in this area, then your doctor could have misspoken and intended to say "cerebral" atrophy which can be a general term used as reference to any part, or all, of the brain.
You are also correct in your interpretation of Dr. Charles' information...frontal lobe atrophy can cause the symptoms you have described and it is not treatable, it will progress thus your symptoms will get worse over time.
I would advise you to seek out another neurologist, as this is a disease process that you will need to have regular medical visits, you will need support, you will need understanding, and most of all CONCERN. I agree with Dr. Charles that there are some medications out there that may offer you some relief of symptoms, certainly diet is important but I do not think that is your only option. I find it repulsive to hear a doctor has no concern for their patients, especially if there is a serious disease involved, but it does happen..please seek out a second opinion with another doctor, if they are a good one, they will work with you, explain everything and give you treatment options.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Thank you very much for the additional information and complete clarification. I will be looking into a second opinion with a more concerned doctor as you suggested. One last question...the thought of this being progressive is a bit terrifying, and I am wondering if there is any non progressive disease or cause of the atrophy and symptoms I've been experiencing? (I have had no head trauma and no evidence of stroke). Do I have any hope that a second opinion/visit with a different neurologist might give me a less scary diagnosis? Can I cross my fingers that this is all possibly caused by something simple and treatable? Or do my symptoms and atrophy at this younger age point pretty directly to only something progressive?
Well I certainly can not diagnose you, but I can say this, regrettably, it is very unlikely that you will get a "better" or less scary diagnosis. The fact of your age, your symptoms, or the cause of the atrophy is really not important...what I mean is the fact that you have frontal lobe atrophy is the problem.
Basically atrophy is a shrinking--in your case shrinking of the frontal lobe. When you loose brain cells/cells are damaged/dying that causes the shrinkage, brain cells are responsible for making your brain work--so less cells = less function.
What happens, very simply described, is once you have an area of the brain that is shrinking--cells being damaged--tissue being lost, then that causes the 'healthy' cells and tissue to begin dying off or loosing function.
Think about an infection you might get in a cut-- it starts out a little red with a few infected cells, (if not treated) those infected cells infect the healthy cells that are next to them, then those infect the next and so on..the infection spreads because those infected (damaged) cells keep moving and touching healthy cells. Then you end up with a huge red, infected area.
It is kind of the same process---I am not saying you have an infection just trying to give you a visualization of how damaged cells spread. In other words, it is very likely that because you already have the damage, it will keep spreading causing worsening symptoms, and eventually severely impair you function. I am sorry to tell you that, but I must be honest. That is why is it so important to have a concerned doctor that is understanding and will help you manage this process and symptoms to the fullest extent.
NURSE KAREN
NURSE KAREN, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 211
Experience: REGISTERED NURSE WITH MANY AREAS OF CLINICAL EXPERTISE
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NURSE KAREN
NURSE KAREN
NURSE KAREN, Nurse (RN)
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