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Kidney Diseases

What are the Effects of Kidney Failure

02/28/2010

Question:

My son has kidney problems and is in line for a transplant. He is begining to show signs of memory lapses and seems to be losing some reality functions and capabilities. He also is accusing family members of being unfaithful. Are these problems the result of kidney malfunctions or is something else going on?

Answer:

From the info that you give, I cannot tell what is going on.  It would be important to know:  How old is your son?  What is the cause of his kidney failure?  How bad is his kidney failure; is he already on dialysis?  What meds does he take?  Does he have other medical conditions besides his kidney disease (diabetes, hypertension, lupus, history of illicit drug use, hepatitis)?  Does he have any history of psychiatric problems, or have there been any recent losses or stressful events in his life? 

It is unlikely that the symptoms you describe are explained by kidney failure alone.  You should make his family doctor or kidney doctor aware of these recent developments, and he should be evaluated for them, probably with blood tests, imaging of his head (CAT scan or MRI), and possibly referral to a psychiatrist or neurologist.  Best of luck to you -- 

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University