Personality change

deb_paMay 31, 2005

Hello, My girlfriend's husband is in his early 60's. He had a quadruple bypass about 6 years ago. About 3 1/2 weeks ago he started acting out of character. He started going to church and praying daily, this isn't a bad thing but there are other strange things. He counts things, he stopped watching TV totally and he had been an avid watcher. Upon returning home from an errand he called the police and told them he was afraid to enter his house. A week before this all started he had a cat scan of his head for headaches. The doctor said it was ok but the bloodwork showed a very low sodium count. He gets $$$ out of his checking and immediately looses it. His total personality has changed within 3 weeks. His wife took him to the ER on Saturday and they did an Alzhiemer test which he passed and they think she is making all this up and sent him home. He won't change PCPs because the hospital ER said he is fine. Has anyone ever had anything similar happen before? Please give me clues to look up for answers. Thanks for any help. He is also gluten allergic and has been on gluten free diet for years, plus has fibromyaga.

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Has he been checked for a urinary tract infection? Often in the elderly, the only signs of such are confusion and personality changes. Also, have his electrolytes (potassium, sodium) and kidnery/liver functions been tested? There might be an imbalance there, such as insufficient vitamin B12.

The hospital ER does not know his history and does not know that this is out of character for him. His doctor should order an MRI, which would reveal much more than a CT scan does. This would rule out the possibility of a stroke, or brain tumor.

PUSH HARD!!! That's the best advice I can give you to give to your friend. I speak from experience, having gone through a great deal with my mother: if the elderly have no advocate, they will get shoved through the system. Obviously there is something wrong; people don't change on a dime like this. My mother started exhibiting strange symptoms like this -- fortunately, her doctor knew us very well (he's mine also) and knew that I would not be exaggerating. He ordered an MRI of her brain early on and discovered that she had a tumor. That is an extreme case, but you can see the necessity of pushing for a diagnosis.

Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 1:45PM
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I can't imagine a test for Alzheimer's that would be effective when administered in an ER. It's usually diagnosed by eliminating all other possible causes. However, since this came somewhat suddenly, I would push for tests to find out exactly what's going on. The low sodium could be upsetting his entire body. A small stroke, or medication not working or working too well. There are any number of reasons and she should make an appointment with a neurologist for further testing.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 4:40PM
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What medications?

Did they check for a mini-stroke?

It's WAY too fast for it to be Alzheimer's.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 9:32PM
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alzheimer's isn't a sudden onset thing...

but a UT infection can be- and a buildup of toxins in the blood can cause MASSIVE personality change.

so too can an electrolyte imbalance, for that matter...and I'm a little appalled that the doctor didn't take one look at a low sodium level, and start asking more questions.

actually- if he got ahold of either wheat or too much sucrose, it could easily be an allergic reaction...

I'd be beating the Dr over the head with a copy of that hypocritic oath of his.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:54PM
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Lasershow, what kind of brain tumor did your mother have?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 12:56AM
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My Dad (70) had a heart bypass operation 3-4 years ago. They used a pump which means they didn't have to stop the heart during surgery.

However, I have been noticing changes in his personality. The way he reacts to things (especially of an emotional nature). It seems that after he processes the information about the situation, he makes different choices than he ever did before. And, he has something now known as emotional incontinence. Meaning that sometimes when listening to music of some type, he starts tearing up etc.

He was such a sweet, caring, honest individual. Now it seems he's nasty (although the surgery went very well and he's doing much better physically than for 20 years before the operation). He says things he never used to and responds to people/situations in a way he never ever would have in the past.

If anyone has had a similar experience, please e-mail me.

I did call the heart surgeon and he emphatically denied that it could have been the cause of the surgery. However, there were other people on the web and even an individual I talked to briefly that said the same thing happened to his father. That he got very negative and nasty. Unfortunately I can't remember who he was and couldn't ask him any more questions (re: if his father's surgery had not gone well and therefore the mood change.)

I'd so very much appreciate anyone's feedback that has a similar story. Thanks kindly.

I'm hoping that if I hear it from enough people that this is indeed a side effect of by-pass in some people, then I can become more tolerant and understanding with my Dad and it will give us a bit more peace of mind.

God Bless.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 6:19PM
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The first thing I thought of was a stroke.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 10:23AM
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Personality changes in the eldery can occur quite suddenly. It seems sometimes just to be one of the things that happen to us as we age. But I agree, there may have been a tiny stroke. The changes may have started before the surgery, but you just didn't notice them because of his heart condition. He probably just didn't have the energy to be hard to live with.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 12:05PM
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Oh my goodness! My grandpa had surgery and ever since he came out he has been accusing my poor grandmother of an affair. It was as if he had a crazy dream while under the anesthetics and morphine. It has gotten worse and worse. It haunts his mind, he can't stop thinking about it and he's talking bad about my grandmother to everyone they know. He has gone to church all of his life and he won't go anymore. My grandparents have been for 56 years and it is so sad to see this happening to them. My mother has taken him to several doctors and they all say he is fine. It is so depressing!!!!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 1:49PM
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OH MY! Just read Kristin's post and can totally relate! My husband began telling my children that I am mean to him and abuse him! It has caused much chaos in my family because some of the relatives are now looking at me like I'm a monster! I've been nothing but good to this man and have never abused him. However, when we are alone, he yells and curses at me about the most insignificant things. I've become frightened of him and find my self waking many times in the night because I don't know what he's capable of.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 5:53PM
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First thing I thought of was UTI. Then stroke. How is he getting on ?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:34PM
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