4 Big benefits of having dialysis treatments at home

We have talked a lot of all the types of dialysis and how they help patients with their kidney diseases. There has always been a myth or a wrong belief that dialysis and all other procedures are best taken at the hospital or dialysis center. The reasons are many and economical facts also come into play. But the idea of having such treatment at home could come as quite a surprise to many and as a contradiction to others. Moreover, patients that pay regular visits to the dialysis center see how their lives are reduced to these trips and these treatments. Maybe the centers have the machines needed, but for patients to travel every day to the center is a problem in itself, and this makes the patient strain their lives and at the same time strain the lives of people around them.

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Image courtesy of Dan at Flickr.com

So, in real life, what are the benefits of having dialysis at home? Are they just myths or do they really work towards helping the patient’s health and life in the long run? Well, to answer that question today we are going to take a look at 4 of the top benefits that home dialysis has for patients and how it has become more user-friendly, makes a patient feel better about themselves, and it gives them more flexibility and control over their lives. We are not saying that one treatment is better than other since there is no strong evidence to support that, but what we are saying is that home dialysis does have many benefits that can improve the patient’s lifestyle.

The results of home dialysis

The first and very important benefit is that patients see how their results improve with time.   When the patients are at home, the treatment becomes more human thus it has better results. Also, when people choose to take their dialysis treatments at home, they can do it in the most comfortable way and can do it more frequently and for shorter periods of time. The results are better because frequent dialysis more closely mimics how the kidneys work, so with a good periodicity for the treatments the waste that accumulates in the body is less so the treatment is cleaner and works properly as a normal kidney would work.  It has been seen that home dialysis helps lower mortality rates, does not have so many side effects and the overall results are better. Also, the patient feels very happy and has a good quality of life since they can have all the benefits of the dialysis without interrupting their lives so much.

Time for yourself

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Image courtesy of Julie at Flickr.com

Fortunately for many of us, we haven’t had the chance to go to treatments to a center almost every day. Even for physical therapy, it becomes annoying going every day to the same place for the same amount of hours. Apart from that, understanding that you are sick or your life is at risk and having to control that is too much to take for one person.

Well, another benefit a patient can get from home dialysis is that they have time to do whatever they want and are capable of.  Going to a center or hospital means taking out 5 or 6 hours of your day and patients that are on dialysis far from home miss out on their friends and family, hobbies or anything they like to do in their leisure time. With home dialysis, all these things are not issues anymore because patients can talk on the phone, have visitors, watch TV and play with their loved ones all from the comfort of their house. Also, changing the landscape from clinic to the house is also a good way to make all the treatments more enjoyable.  

Reduction of transportation expenses

Take a minute to think how much you spend on travel expenses. Is it to your office, house, company or just errands you have to do? Now, imagine you have to go to a hospital every single day and pay for two bus fares or spend the gas on your car every day to go to the dialysis center. Not even mentioning that maybe your dialysis center is very far from home. Now include food and lunch and many other drinks you need. That amounts to a lot of money every month. So, the other benefit of home dialysis is that you save in travel expenses, car maintenance and many other things that add up to the already large bill of having a kidney disease.   

Understanding the disease

It seems impossible that people learn more from home than in a clinic, but it is true. Patients that choose to do dialysis at home get more involved in their treatments and have a better understanding of their health and how their body reacts. So they are less likely to have depression or fear and most of the times they have a more positive approach to life.  

Be sure to also read this post to see if homeopathy is a good idea to treat kidney disease?

* Featured Image courtesy of Dan at Flickr.com

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Is homeopathy a good idea to treat kidney disease?

Much has been said against homeopathy. Most of its critics say that this system for treating diseases is only a pseudoscience in which the naive fervently believe and that its benefits may be more related to the placebo effect than to real causes. In this post, I do not intend to give a concrete answer to this question but to leave on the table the different arguments of both positions on the subject.

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One of the main arguments of homeopathy’s contradictors, in addition to the fact that in the great majority of cases reviewed by medical specialists from different disciplines, there is a lack of scientific rigor in the studies that defend this system (and, therefore, it does not allow a large part of the medical community to rely on it by the most basic methods to determine objectivity,) there is, as mentioned, the presence of the placebo effect in patients. Of course, this raises other questions, especially from the side that defends homeopathy: If the effect of placebo is indeed positive, and in many cases, there is no evidence of side effects, what is wrong if people want to spend money on sugar pills? However, there are cases that prove that things are not so simple. Unfortunately, homeopathy may have surprising and dangerous side effects. Having nothing directly to do with some homeopathic medicine, in particular, there are indirect results when homeopaths replace doctors as a source of medical advice. For example, many homeopaths have a negative attitude towards vaccination, so parents who are in regular contact with a homeopath may be less likely to vaccinate their children. Homeopaths often tell anecdotes to prove that their system is effective, and yet there are cases that prove otherwise all the time.

According to an article by the Scientific American published earlier this year, there are hundreds of cases regarding children and babies who have suffered terrible effects because their parents have provided homeopathic medicines to solve simple problems as mitigating pain during dentition. In some cases, toddlers have stopped breathing, and it has been necessary to go to emergencies to hospitalize them. Sometimes, the article says, babies, end up dead. In the case of dialysis and renal disease, there have also been fatal cases that demonstrate that, in addition to preventive methods like a proper eating, sleep, and exercise habits, the best way to control kidney disease is traditional medicine ways, including dialysis.

Read also: The Best Eating Habits For Living In Dialysis, by Joe Cosgrove

On the other hand, the Russian Academy of Sciences has also performed studies to determine that homeopathy is a pseudoscience that does not offer evidence of its medical benefits, and that, on the contrary, has led even adult patients to death.

The problem is that, apparently, there are evidence sources that support both sides and confirm their arguments. The proponents of homeopathy, particularly in the case of kidney disease, have an interesting perspective. Homeopathy, according to them, can be supplied at the same time as a conventional medication since there are no incompatibilities in both fields. A renal patient is also a high-risk cardiovascular patient. Taking homeopathic medications may assure that there will be no interaction between both ills. Patients on dialysis can also benefit from homeopathy, always under the control of the specialist, though. Of course, there are some cases that support this view.

If this were true, this would mean that the use of homeopathy is actually effective in chronic renal pathologies, urinary tract infections, and recurrent nephritic colic, as well as for chronic renal patients. This would imply, among other things, that homeopathy would be right for all those people who, because of their deteriorated renal function, do not have good leaks and cannot take anti-inflammatory drugs or certain analgesics. In that case, we would be in the presence of a great step in medical terms, but both sides can never agree to operate in a complementary way.

It is not easy to take sides here. One might think of the benefits of taking natural medicines and think about the possibility of treating some diseases in the least invasive way possible. Nevertheless, things are not so elementary when it comes to homeopathy. The companies that produce this type of medicinal substances do not have to go through the strict filters by which companies that produce drugs do have to pass, which, in turn, have already approved a series of successful experiments that can be scientifically corroborated and verified through statistics. Homeopathic medicines seem harmless and the industry that produces them seems so aware of the environment and the good health of the population, but old-school doctors cannot trust it.

Indeed, it would be wonderful if homeopathy could solve many of the problems that traditional medicine cannot solve on a daily basis. Allergies, the side effects of several medications, the high costs of many treatments, as well as the anomalous behavior of certain diseases in some patients, makes it necessary to constantly think about technological improvements and more effective methods. And that is the question.

Coming Back From Kidney Disease: Are You Ready to Work Again?

As per discussed in older posts by Joe Cosgrove, kidney disease, and renal failure, although imply a really hard time for patients, still leave room for them to get the most out of life. One of the biggest issues that concern the vast majority of renal failure and dialysis patients is whether or not they are able to work and perform their old labor duties.

As a matter of fact, many people with chronic kidney disease or renal failure manage to work either full time or part time. Moreover, some of them even go to school or are able to take care of their families and homes. Others prefer to perform volunteer work while still enjoying their hobbies: they go out with peers or even have regular workout and exercise routines. But since these types of conditions come with a heavy burden for those who suffer from them, it is no less than understandable to see patients wondering about whether or not they are ready to work.

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Here are some of the questions that patients ask the most about the possibility continuing to work while on treatment or suffering from any type of kidney disease:

I had a job prior to suffering kidney disease. Can I go back to work?

Most patients, especially those who start dialysis or undergo a transplant want to go back to work almost immediately. Some assert that it helps them feel like they are getting their lives back to what they consider normal, whereas others may take some time to recover from the fallout of the treatment or the post-operatory in case they underwent a kidney transplant surgery.

I am currently employed, can I just continue working while on treatment?

Some dialysis patients manage to work full time soon after they start the treatment. Others, due to the nagging consequences of the treatment, decide to rather take either a part-time or remote work. What seems to be clear, is that dialysis patients prefer to take jobs that are not as physically demanding as their older ones. In fact, working from home with a flexible schedule seems to be the best option, as patients are required to go to hemodialysis from time to time.

Whichever the case, patients should be able to talk to their employers about possible changes and conditions that can help them continue working while on treatment. And this is particularly important since employers likely ignore what kidney disease is about and its implications, therefore, addressing concerns about the job is perhaps the wisest thing to do.

As a matter of fact, doctors are often willing to talk to the patient’s employer to explain and address their condition. Employers will obviously have concerns about the possible limitations, which is why having the doctor address these concerns really come in handy.

Am I protected against labor discrimination?

There are several acts that protect people with some kind of disability from labor and job discrimination. Being fired or being denied a promotion due to some kind of condition or illness is entirely protected by the Civil Rights Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Act.

Employers often ask for medical certification stating that the patient indeed suffers from a specific condition, and cannot under any circumstances fire or force employees to resign simply because they require surgery or treatment.

How do I know if I am ready to work?

Of course, health should always be the patient’s top priority. Prior to recklessly going back to work—ignoring medical recommendations—, patients must decide whether they feel physically and mentally strong to take on their duties again. This process, of course, should always be accompanied by medical rehabilitation.

People with kidney disease or renal failure often go through the following rehabilitation process: first, they need to get themselves back to a much healthier physical overall state; second, they have got to convince themselves that, although they suffer from these diseases, there is still room for positivity; third, they need to start feeling confident and ok around peeps, coworkers and relatives; and fourth, they need to learn how to self-manage themselves to regain their productivity.

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Image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures at Pexels.com

As previously recommended, accompanying rehabilitation with physical activity is tremendously beneficial and will help patients achieve the aforementioned goals much easier. Volunteering and helping other go through the same process also provides a sense of productivity and will definitely help them gain back the skills that could unquestionably help them get a job in the future. The whole idea is to not let the disease impair the patient’s mental state, for, although these conditions imply difficult times, the spirit is everything. There is always another opportunity and there is always a chance to get the most out of life even while on dialysis or treatment: imagination and the will to live is key.