Brain Fog in aHUS

Brain Fog in aHUS
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While it’s not a classic symptom of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), brain fog is fairly common among patients with kidney-related diseases. It can affect your ability to focus, learn, retain information, and maintain employment.

About aHUS

aHUS is characterized by the formation of blood clots in the small blood vessels of the kidneys. These clots can damage the kidneys, leading to multiple health problems, including hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, kidney failure, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, heart disease, and seizures.

It can also cause a condition popularly known as brain fog.

About brain fog

Brain fog is marked by difficulties with focus and concentration, and memory loss. Again, it is a fairly common complaint among people with diseases affecting the kidneys, and about 80% of aHUS patients experience kidney dysfunction at some point.

Feeling “out of it” affects quality of life. Confusion or memory issues regarding appointments or medication routines can also affect care.

Episodes can hit in waves, often leaving patients unable to think clearly for hours or even days. Those who experience brain fog often complain of an inability to perform day-to-day tasks, organize thoughts, or hold a conversation. Some have problems with word choice and language, and slow and confused speech.

While cognitive dysfunction is not linked to lower intellect, it can be perplexing for those who experience it and affect their confidence and self-esteem.

What makes brain fog worse?

Just as excessive physical activity will result in muscle fatigue, protracted mental activity can cause or aggravate brain fog and related cognitive problems.

Your general state of health can also affect the severity of brain fog. Depression or anxiety, for example, are reported to exacerbate brain fog. A recent global poll of people with aHUS indicated that 27% of patients who had undergone dialysis had anxiety and depression. An estimated 68% of aHUS patients need dialysis at some point.

How can I manage brain fog?

Some find that the best way to manage brain fog is by balancing activity with rest, so to avoid becoming overwhelmed. To pace yourself, find a comfortable baseline of mental activity. Then divide it into small manageable portions, interspersed with rest or relaxation. Cease any cognitively demanding activity before you reach “mental fatigue.” Do not push yourself past the limits you have set for yourself.

If you are having issues with short-term memory loss, it might be helpful to keep lists of important things you need to do for each day. Make sure to also return often-used items, such as keys or medication, to their proper place. Instead of multitasking, focus on one activity at a time.

If you’re having a tough time coping with brain fog, you may want to discuss psychological remedies with your physician. In addition, make sure you let certain family members, friends, and co-workers know of the trouble you’re having and how they might help you to cope.

 

Last updated: Nov. 23, 2020

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aHUS News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”

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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”

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