Regular, effective dialysis treatments mean a longer and healthier life. It means more energy and time to do what you love.
Living on dialysis can also mean having to cope with one or more side effects of treatment. There’s no doubt about it, whether big or small, side effects are annoying and sometimes maddening.The good news is that there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of side effects and also treatments for them if you need it. Your care team is ready to answer your questions and help you manage any side effects that may come your way.
You might feel dizzy, light-headed, or very tired. These are often symptoms of low blood pressure caused when too much fluid is removed at one time during dialysis.
The best way to prevent low blood pressure is to control your fluids. Talk to your dialysis dietitian for tips on reducing sodium in your foods and managing your fluid intake.
Effective dialysis removes the right amount of toxins from the blood at each treatment. If too many toxins remain after dialysis, they build up in the blood. This is called uremia and is a serious condition that can cause nausea and vomiting.
If you experience this, tell your dialysis nurse or doctor when you feel nauseated or like you need to vomit. This could mean that an adjustment to your treatment and/or meal plan may be needed.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of your body to give you energy. Many people with kidney disease don’t make enough red blood cells. This condition is called anemia. At least once a month, your care team will test your red blood cell count to see if you have anemia.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you can:
There are many reasons why skin may be dry or itchy. It may be hot/cold weather or a skin allergy. Dry, itchy skin can also be a result of too much or too little dialysis or too much phosphorous in your blood.
If you start to experience dry and/or itchy skin, talk to your care team about your skin. Ask your dialysis dietitian to check your phosphorous levels from your monthly lab work.
Also, avoid fragrances in anything you put on your skin and shop for a soap that doesn’t dry out your skin.
Restless leg syndrome is characterized by uncomfortable feeling of crawling, prickling, or itching. You may feel the need to keep your legs moving, especially while sitting or lying down, making it hard to sleep.
RLS can have multiple causes, such as some forms of kidney disease, uremia (not enough dialysis), iron deficiency, or neuropathy (nerve damage).
If you are experiencing this, speak to your healthcare team for a diagnosis and a prescription which will help address the specific cause. There are many medications that may help this condition.
Some symptoms include feeling tightness or pain in your muscles, especially those in your arms and legs. The exact cause is unknown, but doctors think it may have something to do with fluid removal and electrolyte shifts.
To help with muscle cramping you can:
Some symptoms you might experience are bone pain or weak bones that break easily. The reason is when your kidneys don’t work properly, too much phosphorus can build up in your blood. This can lead to an imbalance in the hormone that releases calcium from your bones, and overtime weakens the bones and may harm the heart.
To prevent this from happening: