welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

herbal medicine

i take aricept (donepezil) for possible alzheimers disease
and have been on it for almost 4 years
the thinking is that by starting it early in the disease process
it will have its greater effect
the later you start it the less effective it is
there is so much damage done upstairs that nothing helps much
as it progresses
sad to say never will either even when they get a cure or treatment

the aricept causes a decrease in an enzyme called acetycholinesterase
which causes a rise in the chemical acetylcholine
which sits in the nerve cell connections in the brain and
the aricept then causes an increase in acetylcholine
which makes the brain cells work better
even the damaged one work better

so aricept is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor

this causes the side effects we see with this medicine
sleep problems leg cramps vivid dreams dizziness blurred vision
hyperalertness after taking restless sleep stomach issues

now i would say the worst side effect i have is the sleep one
my wife says im restless when i sleep
i wimper some time
heck i even hit the bedside table once and bruised my hand
when i was fighting off an attacker one night
in my dreams that was

i lose about two hours sometimes three each night
because of this side effect
eg last night i went to bed at 900pm and was wide awake
at 230am
i get up have my two cups of coffee
then later in the morning around 600am i take my aricept
on a full stomach
the coffee and the aricept keeps me perky and alert
until about 100pm then i start getting real tired and sleepy

thank goodness i am retired and get lay down for a nap
usually a 2 hour one so i can gain back those two hours i lost
the night before

i have even stopped my aricept for a period of time and my
sleep pattern returns back to its normal 7 hours
i feel good and need a short nap in the afternoon

now i have been known for years and years for
falling asleep on people when they came to visit
so i cant blame that on the aricept

ive tried a lot of prescription meds
the ones i gave folks when i was in practice for sleep
that all seem to have the opposite effect on me
real restless and cant sleep like i drank a ton of coffee

ive not taken ambien and the newer ones since there
are concerns about its safety
i personally at my stage am not worried about drug addiction

i even tried some edible marijuana which made me feel
like the prescription sleeping aids

benadryl works well at a low dose although it leaves
me tired the next day
it counteracts the effects of the aricept so the two arent
supposed to be used together

so each day i get 10 articles on alzheimers disease to my email
there was one about an indian herbal root that was used in
alzheimers research that may help in alzheimers disease

in rat studies the amount of that bad stuff beta amyloid in
the brain goes down
and the rats did better on memory tests when they took the
herbal medicine
i always wondered how they tested their memory
i know they cant draw a clock or spell world backwards or
count from 100 by substracting 7

so i went to the national standard website and read about it
it is also used for anxiety and calming folks down
its used for sleep
it also acts just like aricept does
as a acetylcholinesterase inhibitor

could this be the answer
so i went to the herbal vitamin store
now im not going to give the name of the herb
since i as a doctor read up on it and was well aware of the
potential side effects
it causes the blood pressure to go down and im on meds for that
it could potentiate the effects of the aricept
i dont want folks going out and just buying this stuff and
using it

so the night before as i layed down to read my book
i got my glass of water and took my first pill
started to read my book
then the next i know its 7 hours later
i woke up feeling real groggy
so i made my coffee and after drinking my first cup
it was all gone and i felt great
all day i did

theres always a however
i had the most disturbing dream ive had since i have been
on aricept
then at nap time it was even more disturbing
so i skipped the pill the next night
but the dreams were still disturbing
then i didnt take any more pill and the disturbingness of the
dreams have gradually faded a lot

heck last night a lot of relatives came to visit us
we lived at my moms and dads house
they all flew in on a helicopter piloted by my younger brothers
son in law
yes my younger brother who died recently from alzheimers
disease and my mom who died also with it was in my dreams
my brother an avid outdoorsman was helping to negotiate
a small but flooded river in a motorboat
now that one wasnt disturbing
it was good to see him again with his smile
he seemed the same as before he was diagnosed
the same with my mom

so i guess the point im making
is just because something is a herb doesnt make it not
have potential side effects
and can and probably will interfere with your prescription


so discuss it with your doctor
they probably want know most of the side effects though
so go to the
national standard website 
look for what the herbs potential side effects are

im going back to my good ole vivid nondisturbing dreams
will continue to nap each afternoon to regain my
lost hours of sleep

the organicgreen doctor

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