Doing a dialysis for the first time may be a scary situation and not everybody knows how to get prepared for it. A dialysis is a process that helps clean the body of different waste that is in your blood and normally it would get removed by the renal system, when the kidneys are not working correctly. A doctor may appoint a dialysis if there is renal failure and, although this is usually a permanent condition, it may be because of an infection and will only last until the infection is removed. So if it is your first time having a dialysis is better to be well informed of the process and prepare appropriately for the procedure.
There are two kinds of dialysis, the first one is called hemodialysis and the second one is called peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis is when the blood is extracted and clean and then sent back to the body, it also reduces the excess of liquid in the body. Peritoneal dialysis does the same but in a different way, it inserts a solution into the peritoneal cavity and it cleans the blood. Hemodialysis is more effective, but peritoneal dialysis is easier to perform and needs less equipment and experience.
When you already know what type of dialysis you will have, you have to do some preparation for it to be easy and effective. Now we will list some things that may help you during your dialysis process:
- Improve your lifestyle: You should make changes in your diet and your lifestyle; you have to make sure the body is as clean as it can be and this can only be done by controlling what enters your body in very different ways. First, you have to make sure all your vaccines are up to date and you do not have any pending health issues, as this can complicate the dialysis process. You need to make some changes to your habits and part of your lifestyle. Smoking is completely out of the question and if you are a frequent smoker you should inform your doctor of this first. You should have a really balanced diet, making sure you have all the vitamins and the components necessary to have a healthy body, you should also avoid unhealthy food, and this way there will be less waste to clean from your body. That hamburger may look delicious but it is better for the body not to eat it, and especially before a dialysis. Make sure you get enough and good sleep, you should be well rested for the procedure, as it will make the recovery process easier.
- Keep careful watch of your body: Make sure your body is clean and the catheter entry has healed properly and is clean for the next dialysis. This is extremely important as it will make the procedure safer, as there is less possibilities of an infection. You should have really good hygiene to avoid different kind of infection that may occur during the recovery process. You should be conscious of all the information of your body, especially blood pressure and you should be able to control it with medicaments, different diets and exercise. Having high blood pressure may derive in different problems not related to the renal system, like heart disease. Another important step is making sure to control the liquid intake, some doctor will tell you to control your liquid intake or to carefully keep track of how much liquid you consume.
- Prepare for what comes later: Your body will experiment changes during and after the dialysis, you should be physically and mentally prepared to what you may experience during this process. You should be prepared to some discomfort, even though the dialysis process is not painful, you may encounter some adverse side effects. This side effect are different in every person, some physical side effects may include cramps and your skin may itch, the reason for the cramps is not really known but adjusting sodium intake may help reduce the intensity of the cramps. Other side effects may include high or low blood pressure, and these may lead to even other side effects; another heart related side effect is pericarditis, or the inflammation of the muscle around the heart, this should be treated as it may lead to a stroke or a heart attack. Anemia is also a known side effect and if you start feeling any of the symptoms of anemia, you should speak to your doctor.
Remember, you should be prepared for your first dialysis and is better if you take into account all the risks and side effects you may get. These side effects may vary from person to person but following the different advice we talked about should at least reduce the intensity of them and help you cope with them easily. Remember, before doing anything that may affect your dialysis you should check first with your doctor.