Side effects are linked to most medical treatments. It is common to see how patients who need to go under medical treatment start being affected by it. Side effects are not always the same, they depend on the type of treatment you are going and usually disappear once the patient is out of it. Joe Cosgrove knows that a disease like a dialysis also implies some uncomfortable side effects that most patients need to deal with during and after the treatment.
There are two different types of dialysis that are used to filter patient’s’ blood and both of them cause side effects. Both peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis are life-saving medical procedures that are carried out in a way that partially compensates for the loss of renal function. Side effects caused by dialysis can be insignificant or severe, this depends on the body response of the patient and whether or not it follows its fluid and dietary restrictions.
In general, side effects can be managed and most patients can deal with them if they carefully follow the medical indications regarding the fluid intake and dietary recommendations. Being relaxed and accepting dialysis also help the body cope with the side effects.
Fatigue is the right word to define the permanent condition if feeling tired. This side effect is very common for patients going under any type of dialysis treatment (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) consistently and on a long term basis.
Fatigue happens when the kidneys stop working properly and blood stops being fully purified. This prevents patients from being energized. Also, dialysis is an exhausting procedure in itself that may cause stress and anxiety to those who suffer from kidney disease. This emotional state tends to steal energy from patients, producing the feeling of being exhausted.
Another cause of exhaustion are the dietary restrictions that patients need to follow. It is recommended to talk to a nutritionist when one suffers from kidney failure, this way the intake of foods that may help increase energy can be regulated. Most diets for patients with a renal disease include a program of regular exercise that stimulates the body.
Blood pressure tends to be affected by dialysis. Having low blood pressure is the most common side effect for patients going under hemodialysis. The reason for this side effect to happen is the drop in fluid levels while dialysis takes place. This side effect affects 25% of patients who go under dialysis.
Low blood pressure is usually caused by gaining an excessive amount of fluid during the treatment sessions and having a weak heart. On the other hand, this side effect can cause other obnoxious side effects like dizziness and nausea. A good way for patients to avoid gaining fluid weight is by maintaining a healthy fluid intake based on medical recommendations. Avoiding the consumptions of salty foods is also a way for patients to prevent side effects related to blood pressure.
Nausea and vomiting are associated with low blood pressure and may happen during or after receiving the dialysis treatment. It is recommended to talk to the healthcare provided so it can prescribe the patient with anti-nausea medicine.
Leg Muscle Cramps
Some dialysis patients can experience muscle cramps, especially in the lower leg. The cause of this side effect remains a mystery, though it is associated with the fluid loss that happens when patients are going under the treatment. Muscle cramps cause discomfort to patients since they are particularly painful.
Some healthcare providers advise patients to stretch their muscles to relieve the pain caused by this side effect. Applying hot pack on the sore area is also recommended to stimulate blood circulations. Also, consuming tonic water in small amounts and apple vinegar can help relieve the pain. Some physicians may advise consuming medication that may be able to help patients cope with this side effect.
Side effect related to dialysis can cause dry or itchy skin. These skin conditions affect most patients in cold areas or during winter time. The cause of this side effect is the high levels of minerals kept in the body, such as phosphorus.
Healthcare providers recommend patients to have balanced diets with a low mineral intake. This may ease the side effects affecting the patient’s skin. Using dermatologically tested soaps that keep the skin moisturized and using body lotions with no alcohol in them can also help patients.
Other Side Effects
Dialysis may have other side effects that may affect or not different patients depending on their age and state of their renal disease. These side effects are common and may include bone and joint pain, insomnia or staying asleep, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, hernia, peritonitis, weight gain, nausea and vomiting and a syndrome called restless leg syndrome that affects the leg nerves and muscles of the patient, generating a prickly sensation that causes patients to move their legs nonstop.