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.

Medical Challenges

Low Blood Pressure

Blood pressure (BP) can drop during or after treatment for several.

Reasons:

  • 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:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Perspiration or cold clammy skin
  • ramping
  • Ears feel full or ringing in ears
  • Fainting
*If you are experiencing any of these issues be sure to tell your nurse or technician.

Taking Medication

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:

https://www.kidney.org/atoz/atozTopic_Drugs

Establishing an Accesses

Catheter

  • 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.
    • Risks
      • 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.

Fistula

  • 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.
    • Benefits
      • 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.

Muscle Cramps

Muscles may tighten up during dialysis.

Ways to prevent cramping:

  • Limiting salt and fluid intake between treatments
  • Refraining from eating during dialysis treatments
*If cramps occur, massaging the area may relieve them.

Life Challenges

Intimacy

As difficult as it can be to talk about intimacy, be sure to tell your social worker and/or your doctor about what you are experiencing. He or she can let you know about ways to manage physical changes that may affect your intimacy difficulties

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:

Driving

You cannot lose your driving license just because you are a dialysis patient. As long as you are capable of driving safely, you should be able to continue. Keep in mind that many patients feel very tired after dialysis treatments. If this happens, you may want to make alternative transportation plans.

Employment

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.