Kidney Disease And How It Affects Your Memory Thinking And Cognition What You Can Do
Your brain weighs around 3 pounds and 75% of it is made out of water. There are many factors that can affect your brain health and kidney disease is one of them. Kidney disease can negatively impact your brain health and affect your memory, cognition, thinking, and communication. Dementia is a common issue faced by chronic kidney disease sufferers.
Many studies and research have shown the connection between dementia and kidney disease. People with CKD are at a higher risk of cognitive impairment. In this video, Robert discusses a study published by the Online Edition of Neurology where they successfully managed to show how kidney disease was linked to dementia and cognitive impairment.
Worldwide, about 50 million have dementia, and more than 50% of chronic kidney disease sufferers suffer from memory loss. In addition to the research about kidney disease and dementia, Robert mentions how kidney disease affected his memory and thinking. When dangerous levels of toxins build up in your body due to reduced kidney function, your brain is adversely affected. Incorporating Omega 3s and L-carnitine with kidney disease may help prevent dementia for those dealing with kidney disease.
Always be sure to check with your nutritionist or nephrologist before getting on any medications. Kidney disease can have negative impacts on your memory, thinking, communication, and cognition.
What Type Of Blood Tests Are Used To Diagnose Autoimmune Diseases
Several different blood tests may be used to diagnose an autoimmune disease. In addition to a regular complete blood count and metabolic panel, other tests that are likely to be included are anti-dsDNA, anti-RNP, anti-Sm, anti-Sjogren’s SSA and SSB, anti-scleroderma, anti-Jo-1, anti-CCP, antibody against cardiolipin, and an antinuclear antibody test. A rheumatoid factor test, which looks for rheumatoid arthritis, is also usually included during the diagnostic phase. The antinuclear antibody test looks for antibodies that could cause an autoimmune response.
Hearing Loss Related Complications
If your ears cannot pick up sounds, your hearing nerves will send only fewer signals to your brain, and thus depriving your brain of stimulation, it once had. When you are trying hard to listen, your brain may go through cognitive overload. This means that when your brain is working hard to decode what others are saying, it doesnt store the information in your memory as well as if you are listening with ease. This is one way that hearing loss can affect memory and contribute to a quicker decline in thinking.
Here are a few hearing loss-related complications:
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Is The Cure Worse Than The Disease
High blood pressure has been called a silent killer. This is because it is possible to go for years with high blood pressure and not even know it. Even worse, the consequences of untreated high blood pressure can be catastrophic stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney failure the list goes on and on. But, what about when high blood pressure is treated? Do blood pressure medications cause memory loss?
Because of that, the standard medical recommendation for years has been to:
- Have your blood pressure tested frequently .
- If your blood pressure is elevated, get on a blood pressure medication and try to keep your blood pressure as close to normal as possible.
But, is this always the best advice? Maybe not, particularly when we consider the confusing effects of blood pressure on cognitive function.
We have known for years that untreated high blood pressure in middle aged individuals significantly increases the probability that they will suffer cognitive decline in their later years .
Conversely, when we look at the elderly as a group we find that those with the lowest blood pressure actually have a higher risk of cognitive decline than those with the highest blood pressure .
How can we reconcile such conflicting data on the correlation between blood pressure and cognitive decline in the elderly? Could it possibly be that it was the blood pressure drugs rather than blood pressure itself that was causing cognitive decline in the elderly?
Healthy Weight Loss With Kidney Disease
For those with a overweight or obese body mass index , your doctor may encourage some weight loss to help manage your health conditions including kidney disease.
Healthy weight loss is generally seen as weight loss of one to two pounds per week. For those with over 100 pounds of weight to lose, aiming for approximately 1% weight loss per week may be acceptable.
An overall weight loss goal that can still show benefits can be anywhere from 5-10% of your current weight over the course of 6 months.
Benefits of kidney disease and weight loss
Other benefits that have been found with weight loss for kidney disease includeless protein in the urine and lower systolic blood pressure.
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Study Of More Than 350000 Patients Hints That End
Older kidney disease patients who are sick enough to require the blood-filtering treatment known as dialysis are at high risk of dementia, including Alzheimers disease, according to a study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The study, published Aug. 9 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society for Nephrology, found evidence that older kidney disease patients had a substantially higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia than community-dwelling older adults.
The dementia risk in this population seems to be much higher than what we see among healthy community-dwelling older adults, says study lead author Mara McAdams-DeMarco, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.
To McAdams-DeMarco and her colleagues, the findings suggest that doctors should be doing more to monitor, and if possible to slow or prevent, cognitive decline among older dialysis patients. The high incidence of dementia seems to be overlooked in this population, she says.
The precise biological mechanism linking kidney disease to brain problems isnt yet clear, but kidney disease has itself been linked to poor blood flow in the brain, so researchers suspect that as a key factor.
Alzheimers disease represented a significant proportion of dementia diagnoses: The one-year risk of this form of dementia was 0.6 percent for women and 0.4 percent for men.
Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health .
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How Should Patients With Cognitive Dysfunction In Chronic Kidney Disease Be Managed
Intervention for risk factors
The vascular beds of the brain and kidney have similar anatomic and hemodynamic features these observations have led to the speculation that cognitive impairment and CKD are reflections of vascular injury in different end organs. Moreover, most CKD patients have high rates of hypertension, diabetes, markedly elevated levels of inflammatory markers and homocysteine, vascular endothelial dysfunction, cardiovascular events including stroke, and carotid atherosclerosis, all of which contribute to vascular cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease. There are modfiable risk factors for congnitive impairment .
Risk factors for cognitive impairment.
Potential measures to reduce cognitive impairment in patients with CKD could include treatment of cardiovascular risk factors, although there are unfortunately no clinical trials of patients with CKD that have evaluated treatment of cardiovascular risk factors to prevent cerebrovascular disease or cognitive impairment. Several renal function and dialysis-associated factors such as retention of uremic solutes, hemodynamic instability during dialysis, and anemia have been suggested for modifiable factors.
Treatment of cardiovascular risk factors
Management of renal function and dialysis-associated factors
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Food Tastes Like Metal
Why this happens:
A build-up of wastes in the blood can make food taste different and cause bad breath. You may also notice that you stop liking to eat meat, or that you are losing weight because you just don’t feel like eating.
What patients said:
Foul taste in your mouth. Almost like you’re drinking iron.
I don’t have the appetite I had before I started dialysis, I must have lost about 10 pounds.
Alcohol Or Illicit Drugs
Drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs can impair your memory, both in the short term and long term. From blackouts to an increased risk of dementia years later, these substances can significantly harm your memory, among many other things. Too much alcohol can also cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which if treated immediately, may be able to be partially reversed in some people.
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Its Not Necessarily Alzheimers
More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia, and a small percentage of dementias are reversible. Two common examples are dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency or an underactive thyroid . Getting the right diagnosis is important so that you know what options you have, because symptoms subside when the underlying problem is treated.
Swollen Or Puffy Face
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the face.
What patients said:
My sister, her hair started to fall out, she was losing weight, but her face was really puffy, you know, and everything like that, before she found out what was going on with her.
My checks were always puffy and tight. Sometimes they would even hurt.
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Neuropsychiatric Disorders In Chronic Kidney Disease
- 1Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Medical Investigation, Faculty of Medicine, UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- 2Laboratory of Neurobiology, Department of Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, UFMG, Houston, Brazil
- 3Neuropsychiatry Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, United States
When To Get Medical Advice
See your GP if you have persistent or worrying symptoms that you think could be caused by kidney disease.
The symptoms of kidney disease can be caused by many less serious conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis.
If you do have CKD, it’s best to get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Kidney disease can be diagnosed by having blood and urine tests.
Find out more about how CKD is diagnosed.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2019 Next review due: 29 August 2022
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Kidney Disease And Weight Loss
Kidney Disease and Weight Loss was written by Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN. Jen is a Registered Dietitian and Board-Certified in Renal Nutrition at Plant Powdered Kidneys.
While many people spend time, money, and effort towards weight loss, some lose weight simply from a diagnosis of kidney disease. And while kidney disease and weight loss arent always thought of as being intertwined, weight loss can be a crucial factor to pay attention to when caring for your kidneys.
Fluid Weight Loss With Kidney Disease
Its important to know that weight loss or weight gain and kidney disease may be connected due to fluid balance.
The kidneys are responsible for making urine and controlling blood pressure. The amount of urine you make or dont make is dependent on your kidney function, salt intake, and fluid balance.
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Nature Of Cognitive Impairment
In recent years, several clinical studies have concentrated on the burden of MCI in CKD patients . Among patients with CKD, the prevalence of MCI has been estimated to be as high as 30% to 63% , which is approximately twice as high as in the age-matched general population. The stage of CKD is apparently related to the risk of MCI: the lower the estimated glomerular filtration rate the higher the risk of MCI . Notably, discernible cognitive changes may appear already in early CKD stages .
Interestingly, patients with end-stage renal disease have a similar MCI burden with or without haemodialysis, or peritoneal dialysis . This is surprising because recent data show that haemodialysis modifies cerebral blood flow as a function of ultrafiltration volume . However, after 12months, this brain haemodynamic effect correlates with a better performance with the MoCA test for MCI . This observation is also supported by the improvement of the cognitive functions after the start of dialysis, possibly with better results using peritoneal dialysis compared with haemodialysis . Therefore, the decline of cerebral blood flow observed during haemodialysis may not contribute to MCI.
This might be interpreted as the presence of toxins not eliminated by the dialysis process, or the deficit of neuroprotective substances produced by the kidney that have not been directly replaced yet.
Ways Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Memory
Most people consider hearing loss and cognitive impairment as normal when they get older. However, research has revealed a link between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment, which may be a precursor to Alzheimers disease. According to the research, people with hearing loss were two times more likely to develop cognitive impairment compared to people with normal hearing.
Your hearing plays an important role in keeping your brain and memory sharp, so it is essential to get your hearing tested frequently.
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Can Hearing Aids Help In Cognitive Decline
Hearing loss can put you at risk of depression, cognitive impairment, isolation, and anxiety. However, these problems can be alleviated with regular use of hearing aids when they are prescribed for your hearing loss. Hearing aids can help restore your communication function and improve your auditory memory and communication competence.
The University of Maryland Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences conducted research in which they monitored a group of first-time hearing aid users with mild to moderate hearing loss for six months. The research team has used various cognitive and behavioral tests to evaluate participants memory and hearing. After six months, participants showed significant improvement in listening, memory, and neural speech processing from using hearing aids. The findings of the research are published in Neuropsychologia and Clinical Neurophysiology.
The sooner you get your hearing loss treated with hearing aids, the better it will be for your brain and memory. Visit an audiologist near you to get your hearing tested and receive recommendations for the best hearing aids.
Contact us at to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Hoffmann!
Cognitive Outcomes In Renal Studies
A previous review provides a list of tests commonly used in the renal literature and other reviews illustrate how multiple tests should be used where the goal is to infer the locus of brain impairment from one or more specific cognitive deficits . Studies designed to examine which abilities do and do not relate to a disease must examine a wide range of different abilities . Definitions of terms used in the psychometric literature are given in table 2. Outcome variables can be dichotomous , ordinal categories of performance level, or continuously distributed test scores representing performance level. We use the term cognitive impairment only if this cognitive status has been established by clinical criteria, i.e. neuropsychological evaluation and/or normative data. The term deficit is used as a comparative term indicating a lower average level of performance relative to a reference group or groups. The term decline is only used for longitudinal change in performance.
Definitions of terms used in this review
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From Medications To Sleep Find Out What Can Contribute To Cognitive Decline
by Barbara Sadick, AARP, February 19, 2020
En español | Suspect your memory isn’t what it used to be? You could be right. But the reasons for your cognitive slump might not be the ones you worry about.
Slow cognitive decline is expected as we get older, says Joel Salinas, a neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Neurology Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health. What’s not considered a normal or expected part of aging, he says, is dementia a disease signaled by more rapid decline in cognitive abilities.
Many older adults worry about big causes, such as Alzheimer’s, without realizing that, in fact, many cognitive issues signal more general health problems such as thyroid issues, dehydration or lifestyle issues that can be reversed, Salinas notes.
Low thyroid functioning, he says, can be experienced as ongoing fatigue and slowed thinking. Too much alcohol can impair memory, and dehydration often simply not drinking enough water throughout the day causes too little blood flow to the brain.
Getting at the bottom of what’s affecting your ability to reason, remember or articulate your thoughts is important. To that end, Donna de Levante Raphael, director of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America National Memory Screening Program, says a memory screening, covered by Medicare, should be part of your annual wellness visit. You might find out that your cognitive issues are caused by one of the below factors and can often be reversed.
Mechanisms Relating Kidney Disease To Cognition
Table 6 lists variables that may mediate between renal disease and cognitive function. One may hypothesize, among other models, direct paths in which CKD affects brain function and morphology and hence cognition. An alternative, and not mutually exclusive, possibility is that risk factors shared by brain and kidney lead to cognitive deficit, decline and impairment . This parallel risk factor model is appealing because both kidney and brain are low resistance end organs and are exposed and re-exposed to high-volume blood flow though the cardiac cycle’ , p. 5]. Thus the brain and kidney very likely share common risk factors for cognitive deficit and impairment. It is clear that the issue of mediating variables becomes complex once treatment is initiated for ESRD. Thus we refer the reader to a comprehensive model by Murray and Knopman and in table 6 summarize the many candidate mechanisms. In pretreatment forms of renal disease it makes some sense that the search for mechanisms should begin with the strongest risk factors for kidney disease, i.e. hypertension and diabetes. However, few if any mediation studies have been undertaken.
Some candidate mechanisms mediating between kidney disease and cognitive functioning on order of discussion in text1
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