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Simplifying fact about kidney disease and dialysis

Kidney disease is a condition of damaged kidneys when waste and fluids are not removed, instead of accumulating in the body. The severity of kidney disease can differ according to different groups: * In India, more than 1.75,000 patients are on chronic dialysis. Each year, about 2.20,000-2.75,000 new patients need renal or renal replacement therapy.

Cause of kidney failure

Kidney failure doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of the continued loss of kidney function. The kidneys are most commonly damaged due to medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. A person with kidney failure may experience frequent urination; blood in the urine; loss of appetite, weight loss; swelling over the body, fatigue; difficulty breathing; early.

Dialysis: why and when

Dialysis is a recommended procedure for a person with about 90% kidney failure. When the kidneys fail or don’t work properly, dialysis can help it do its job of removing waste and fluid from the blood. The dialysis procedure can help the person regain better mobility and flexibility; improved well-being less dietary restrictions; a longer and healthier life and many more. Additionally, urine output may be normal at the time of initiation of hemodialysis.

Answers to Common Queries: Myths Solved

  1. The doctor has asked me to start dialysis. Is it the end of my life?

The answer is a BIG NO. You can take dialysis and still enjoy life. Although transplantation is the best option, dialysis patients can enjoy their daily lives.

  1. The doctor has recommended 3 dialyses per week. Is it okay to only have 1 or 2 sessions instead?

Adequate dialysis is important to develop a good appetite and quality of food intake. Inadequate dialysis can lead to loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia, and breathing difficulties. Therefore, 1 dialysis per week is pointless and 2 times per week can only lead to a modest degree of kidney function. It is important to do it according to the doctor’s instructions.

  1. What Happens During Hemodialysis?

During hemodialysis, blood leaves your body through the port, travels, and is filtered by the dialysis machine, then returns to your body.

  1. Why are periodic biochemical tests recommended?

They are done to make necessary changes to medications. Proper care can reduce complications.

  1. How much liquid should I drink?

The daily fluid intake is 600 ml in addition to the urine output. If your urine output is 200 ml per day, you can drink up to 800 ml per day. It includes all kinds of liquids like coffee, tea, rasam, dal, etc.

  1. Can I eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables?

No, not everything. You should restrict your foods rich in potassium, sodium, phosphorus which can have harmful effects on the body when consumed in excessive amounts.

  1. How to eat a low salt diet?

You can save 3 grams (half a tablespoon) separately, you can add it little by little during the meal. You should avoid packaged foods such as meat, yeast, salty chips, cookies, nuts, popcorn, potato chips, pickles, soda, health drinks, cocoa, etc., which are high in sodium.

  1. Why do I have muscle cramps during dialysis?

When fluid elimination is high, patients often suffer from muscle cramps. Inform your doctor. Less weight gain between two dialysis sessions can help reduce fluid elimination and prevent cramps and hypotension.

  1. What if I feel depressed?

It is important to maintain emotional health. Talk to a dialysis social worker or doctor to find out if counseling and / or medications can be helpful. Get help from a life partner, family, friends, and other patients.

  1. Can I continue with my work?

If you can. However, if your job requires a lot of physical labor (lifting heavy objects, digging, driving, etc.), you may need to find a different job. You can also try rescheduling your work.

  1. I can travel?

If you can. Avoid drinking copious amounts of fluids while traveling. Arrange dialysis at the location closest to your destination. You can also travel by plane. Before that, contact your doctor. Preferably take dialysis immediately the day before dialysis.

This article was written by Dr. Suman Lata Nayak, Director and Senior Consultant – Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi.


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