Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kidney Problems and the Effects of Antidepressants

For the past two years my mother has been having kidney problems. Her kidneys have been functioning only at 25%. The only real advice her doctors (primary care and nephrologist) have given her is to reduce her sodium intake. She understands the need to do whatever it takes to get her kidneys functioning properly so she has done a very good job at reducing her sodium intake.
What I found odd was that neither of her doctors recommended that she drink more water – you know that pure fluid that our kidneys require to flush out all those pesky toxins we ingest every single day? No, her doctor told her that drinking more water would not necessarily help get her creatinine to an ideal level.

For years we have been telling my mom that she needs to drink more water. We visibly see her dry mouth – which, she claims is a result of her medications. "All the MORE reason to drink more water," we tell her. It was very frustrating to know that her doctor, in whom she has placed much trust, would give her this kind of information. Although she has tried to drink more water since we have explained that it is indeed important for optimal kidney function – regardless of what her doctor says – I felt like that was a huge step back in our quest to help her see where she could do something so simple to improve her health.

My mother has a tendency for stubbornness. I’ve been telling her for years that she needs to take supplements because we just don’t get the proper nutrition from the food we eat. Due to the over-processing of food as well as all the pesticides used on our “fresh” produce our food is just not very nutritious. She disagreed with me again, of course. She believes that she eats just fine, thank you very much. She’s set in her ways, what can I say?

She’s been seeing her nephrologist every six months at which time she goes over my mother’s blood test results with her and tells her at what percentage her kidneys are functioning. I decided that I should go with her to her last appointment to hear the latest verdict. It turned out that her kidney function had dropped, yet again. I sat there listening to the doctor asking questions…and checking my mom’s legs. I watched as the nephrologist took a phone call on her cell phone during my mom’s visit. I also saw her check the phone a second time at which point I was prepared to say something to her had she taken the call. She then asked my mom again, the same question…and checked my mom’s legs for swelling…again. Had she forgotten she’d already done it? She then said that there was a note from my mom’s regular doctor that stated that her liver enzymes were high now so she wanted my mom to have another blood test and go back to see her in two months. 

That was about the gist of the appointment. Had it not been for the liver count, my mom would have made an appointment for 6 months out and that would have been that. Additionally (more of an aside), her blood pressure was up. The doctor recommended that my mother have her blood pressure checked over the next couple of weeks and if it showed her blood pressure to be high, she would recommend a medication to lower it.
Meanwhile I apparently forgot that I was actually able to speak. The only useful thing that came out of my mouth was “Can I have a copy of the blood test results?” which she “allowed” me to have. I got the copy and we left.

A couple of days later I started thinking, “What the heck was wrong with me? Why didn’t I say something about the phone call…or ask what her real purpose was? Was she just monitoring my mom’s creatinine levels until her kidney function got so low that she had to go on dialysis?” She had absolutely no useful information to help my mom get better. This is when I decided that I needed to take matters into my own hands. I took a copy of the blood test results to my chiropractor who had been treating my mom. I also wanted to try and figure out what was causing the kidney problems in the first place.

After looking at the blood test results, it became clear that much of the problem was likely the medication she had been on for over a decade. It is no secret that, for the most part, conventional doctors only look at whether or not levels are within the accepted range. They rarely, if ever, look at what the implications of other issues might be; it doesn’t really matter if they’re on the cusp. They also typically only look at each issue separately and not how they may contribute to the main problem or be part of the same problem.

For example, the results of her test showed that while her blood sugar was...

Also, please find the follow up blog regarding specific information about Zyprexa and Effexor by clicking here: "Are Antidepressants Destroying Your Organs?"

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