Dealing with the Side Effects of Dialysis
Whether you’re just starting dialysis appointments or the treatments have been part of your healthcare routine for some time, you may feel some side effects of dialysis. Dialysis is the manual procedure that mirrors what healthy kidneys do for the body. The process is used to filter harmful wastes, salt, and excess fluid from your blood, restoring the blood to a normal, healthy balance. While each patient’s body functions and reacts uniquely to the treatment, there are five most common side effects from dialysis noted by kidney doctors. We’ve noted the symptoms below and how to cope with each.
5 Common Side Effects of Dialysis
- Dry or itchy skin can develop with a high phosphorus diet. Dialysis patients can experience itchy skin especially in the winter, which makes following your kidney disease diet even more important. Taking phosphate binders as prescribed may also help. Try Ivory soap, or one that doesn’t dry out your skin, and partner that with a non-scented moisturizer to relieve the itchiness.
- Low blood pressure is the most common side effect of dialysis, with nearly 25 percent of patients affected at some point during treatments. This side effect is mostly caused by a weak heart and taking on excess fluid weight between dialysis treatments. Avoiding salty foods and limiting your fluid intake to 32 ounces each day will help prevent the extra fluid weight.
- Muscle cramping is a side effect of dialysis, but healthcare providers aren’t exactly sure what causes it. To avoid the discomfort, your treatment technicians may suggest stretching regularly and using hot packs to improve circulation. A couple of home remedies have been said to offer relief to patience – drinking a small amount of tonic water or apple vinegar. There are no medical studies to verify the remedies, but there’s little risk in trying. Talk with your kidney doctor before using medication to treat muscle cramping.
- Nausea and vomiting can be a result of kidney disease even without dialysis treatment. However, low blood pressure or extra fluid weight can also trigger these side effects. Let your dialysis treatment technician know if you’re feeling nauseated during treatment so the nurse can make changes to the machine. If vomiting or nausea continue at home, make an appointment with your kidney doctor and ask about possible medicines as a fix.
- Restless leg syndrome is often tied to kidney disease, so dialysis treatment patients may continuously move their legs because of leg nerves and muscles experiencing a prickly or sensitive feeling. Restless leg syndrome is also associated with diabetes, hardening of the arteries, or a lack of vitamin B, so make sure you speak with your kidney doctor about your experience with this side effect to make sure you’re diagnosed properly.
No matter where you are in your dialysis treatment journey, following your specific treatment plan and diet will help minimize side effects you experience during treatments. If you’re going through other side effects, or feel your body is reacting abnormally to treatments, call us today at Pee Dee Nephrology about how to make dialysis a better experience.