Living with Dialysis
Dialysis can bring changes and challenges that are frustrating and upsetting. Please share your questions and frustrations with a Satellite social worker. As professionals with lots of experience helping patients during this time in their lives, they have helped hundreds of dialysis patients deal with challenges they face as a result of dialysis.
Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure (BP) can drop during or after treatment for several.
- Eating before or during dialysis
- Home medications you have taken
- Fluid is removed by the machine faster than your body can adjust to the loss.
Signs of low BP are:
- Perspiration or cold clammy skin
- Ears feel full or ringing in ears
Dialysis-related medications vary by dialysis treatment type. Because being on dialysis can affect the way medications work, it is important that you do not take any over-the-counter medicines without asking your doctor, dietitian or nurse
More Helpful Tips
Establishing an Accesses
Depending on the type of dialysis you and your doctor choose, the first step is to create a safe way to routinely access your blood to perform the dialysis.
A catheter is a soft tube that is placed in a large vein, usually in your
neck. A catheter is considered a temporary accesses and is discouraged
because of a higher chance of infections. They are sometimes needed since
there is not always enough time after discovering that you need dialysis
to develop a fistula.
- Higher death rate - 2 to 3 times increased risk of death.
- Higher infection rate - 15 times increased risk of infection.
- Increased risk of being sicker due to inadequate blood flow, leading to inadequate dialysis.
A fistula is an access made by joining an artery and vein in your arm.
It is the most common type of permanent access. A fistula should be considered
the first choice for your access because it generally lasts longer and
has fewer problems. Once the vein and artery are connected, more blood
flows through the vein and the vein gets larger.
- Patients who use a fistula report greater physical activity, energy and social wellbeing.
- Patients who use a fistula report perceptions of greater overall general health, when compared to patients using a catheter
- Patients can shower with a fistula.
Peritoneal Dialysis Cavity Access
Catheter is surgically placed into the peritoneal cavity through your abdominal wall. This tube is used to flush your peritoneal cavity with dialysate, which removes waste and excessive fluid.
Muscles may tighten up during dialysis.
Ways to prevent cramping:
- Limiting salt and fluid intake between treatments
- Refraining from eating during dialysis treatments
Connecting with Others
You may find it easier to cope with life on dialysis if you get to know other people that have this in common with you. You can do that by meeting people at your Satellite center, joining local CKD patient groups and visiting websites created by and for others on dialysis. Two great websites to visit are:
- Peer Support https://www.kidney.org/patients/peers/
Many dialysis patients want or need to continue working. Because of the greater schedule flexibility that comes with home dialysis treatments, it is somewhat easier for these patients to continue with formal employment.
There are several ways that Satellite Dialysis Centers make it easier for patients to return to work. These include scheduling nocturnal (while you sleep) center treatments and very early morning treatments that allow you dialyze before work hours. Your Satellite social worker can discuss all your options.