Complications

Even though dialysis is a lifesaving treatment you may or may not experience some of the related conditions listed below, it varies from person to person.  Your dialysis team can help you cope with them.

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
    • It is common for your blood pressure to decrease as you dialyze, but if too much fluid is being taken off as you dialyze, then your blood pressure could drop significantly, causing more issues.
  • Dizziness
    • One of the side effects of low blood pressure. Be sure to let your nurse/tech know and they most likely will help you be more comfortable.  I personally eat salty snacks while dialyzing – salt increases your blood pressure.
  • Muscle cramps
    • Can be very painful, but usually a side effect of taking off too much fluid.  Be sure to let your nurse/tech know and they most likely will help you be more comfortable, by massaging or having your partner massage the affected area and give you some saline.  Unfortunately there is not much you can do, until it passes.
  • Nausea/Vomiting
    • Another side effect of taking off too much fluid while dialyzing. Of course always notify your nurse.  If you are having symptoms at home, then notify your nurse and/or doctor for a prescription that can help.
  • Headache
    • causes may include hypertension (high blood pressure), hypotension (low blood pressure), high sodium intake, and a possible connection with low magnesium.”  If you find that you are having continuing headaches, you should notify your doctor.
  • Itchy skin
    • I have always had dry/itchy skin, however an excess of phosphorus in your blood can cause that.  Check here for more information about that.
  • Insomnia
    • “People receiving hemodialysis often have trouble sleeping, sometimes because of breaks in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea) or because of aching, uncomfortable or restless legs.”
  • Infection (to access site)
    • Keep your access always clean and dry, this is your lifeline and an infection can put you in the hospital.
  • Bleeding
    • If your site hasn’t clotted enough, there is still a chance for bleeding.  Keep a watch on your site as you leave the dialysis center; if you still in the area (of your dialysis center) then return quickly so they can help you stop the bleeding.
  • Anemia
    •  “Not having enough red blood cells in your blood (anemia) is a common complication of kidney failure and hemodialysis. Failing kidneys reduce production of a hormone called erythropoietin (uh-rith-roe-POI-uh-tin), which stimulates formation of red blood cells. Diet restrictions, poor absorption of iron, frequent blood tests, or removal of iron and vitamins by hemodialysis also can contribute to anemia.”  
  • Fatigue
    • One of side effects of anemia, also if you are not getting enough sleep, then that can contribute too.
  • Shortness of Breath
    • “kidney failure is sometimes confused with asthma or heart failure, because fluid can build up in the lungs.”
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
    • is another common side effect that causes patients to keep moving their legs as a result of the leg nerves and muscles creating a crawly or prickly sensation. Restless leg syndrome can be tied to some forms of kidney disease, diabetes, hardening of the arteries, or a vitamin B deficiency, so it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and a prescription which will address the specific cause
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased potassium in blood
    • Potassium is a mineral that is normally removed from your body by your kidneys. If you consume more potassium than recommended, your potassium level may become too high. In severe cases, too much potassium can cause your heart to stop.
  • Hair loss
    • No one tells you, but you could lose your hair; hair problems can occur before or after you start dialysis.  I am on Dialyvite, it is a vitamin which you can get over the counter or by prescription.  Ask your doctor.

 

Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hemodialysis/about/pac-20384824

https://www.kidney.org/news/ekidney/january12/top5

https://www.healthline.com/health/dialysis#risks

https://www.davita.com/education

 

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