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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Physical activity for dialysis patients

Joe Cosgrove has previously covered renal compensation and dialysis thoroughly from different angles; however, one common thing dialysis patients wonder is whether they can perform physical activities during and after the treatment. The truth is, the vast majority of dialysis patients firmly believe they cannot execute any physical activity or exercise; nonetheless, research has shown that actually, they can. Many out of those patients have previously described their first physical activities as something that helped them feel normal again shortly after starting their dialysis treatment. As asserted by various physicians, the act of motion and exercise, regardless of length and intensity, helps those individuals with chronic kidney disease feel much better and stronger, and subsequently more in control of their bodies and their health.

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Image courtesy of Burst at Pexels.com

Many out of those patients have previously described their first physical activities as something that helped them feel normal again shortly after starting their dialysis treatment. As asserted by various physicians, the act of motion and exercise, regardless of length and intensity, helps those individuals with chronic kidney disease feel much better and stronger, and subsequently more in control of their bodies and their health.

The medical community, especially those who specialize in working with renal rehabilitation have found that exercising on a regular basis, carefully, of course, not only improves an individual’s potential for future and more intense physical activity but also does wonders regarding the overall quality of life for those undergoing the dreary process. It is well known that exercise may also come in handy for gaining back the ability to carry out activities that were part of people’s routines prior to starting the treatment. Of course, this also has a huge impact on an emotional level: whether it is returning to the office or taking over domestic chores, patients basically agree upon the fact that exercise has given them back a part of themselves that was somewhat lost.

Dialysis on the deck_joe cosgrove_Kidney Disease

Image courtesy of Julie at Flickr.com

Thus, with that being said, for all those individuals who are currently undergoing dialysis, any kind of controlled and supervised physical activity is highly recommended; however, before recklessly jumping into action, it is advisable to consider the following aspects:

Consult your physician

When it comes to delicate medical conditions, addressing the primary physician is key. Doctors are the first source of information about what kind of physical activity can be done depending on the patient’s current stage of the treatment. In fact, physicians often feel happy for those patients who show eagerness to work out and improve their overall health. Measures often include several recommendations such as consulting a physical therapist as well in order to avoid falling victim of any possible injury. Meal plans and controlled diets are always advisable.

Alongside their primary physician and their physical therapist, patients undergoing dialysis can make their current stage more fun and enjoyable—which ends up providing a tremendous positive effect on the patient’s body and mind.

Choose the physical activity and exercise you like the most

Most patients are used to taking long walks. Walking, in fact, is perhaps one of the least demanding and strenuous exercises people can do; yet it is also one of the healthiest ways of keeping a good physical condition. Taking a walk provides several benefits and helps various corporal functions at the same time: it improves the patient’s digestion, increases their energy levels, reduces their bad cholesterol levels, controls their blood pressure, lowers the risk of having a cardiovascular condition, helps them sleep much better and, most importantly, helps fade away those high-stress levels.

Start!

It is undeniable that undergoing dialysis takes a toll on every patient: the vast majority of those individuals who are currently on dialysis oftentimes agree upon the fact that they always feel exhausted and too tired to exercise, and, subsequently, they firmly believe that adding extra activity to their already demanding routines will leave them even more tired. The truth is, even a little-controlled amount of physical activity, let us say 20 to 25 minutes a day, has proven to help patients feel less exhausted. Doing otherwise—not exercising—actually makes people fall victim of those unwanted low energy levels: the longer they postpone any kind of physical activity, the weaker they will feel.

One of the most renowned side effects of suffering from kidney failure is muscle loss. This simply means that those individuals who are currently undergoing dialysis are more likely to lose muscle mass. Exercise, however, helps keep the muscle from shrinking. In fact, there is the chance to bring it back!

Always stretch

As mentioned above, the common denominator of those undergoing dialysis is a constant weakness. People are simply too tired to do basically anything; however, stretching prior to any kind of physical activity has proven to do wonders; besides, it is practically something all dialysis patients can do: it is the perfect way to get blood to those stiff body parts. Stretch both lower and upper body prior and after exercising, as it reduces the chances of suffering from cramps and other unwanted and unsolicited pains. Of course, the key here is to mind the pace, meaning: start slowly. There is no need to become the ultimate athlete to have a good and effective workout. Exercise at a controlled pace and improve over time. It will definitely pay off!

* Featured Image courtesy of Burst at Pexels.com

How dialysis works in developing countries

Currently, we are facing a situation where many people in the world are suffering from kidney-related diseases. In fact, according to the National Kidney Foundation, at least 10% of the global population suffers from chronic kidney disease, and at least two million people receive dialysis treatment nowadays. Sadly, most of the patients who actually have access to dialysis treatment are those who live in developed countries. Those who live in developing countries not always have access to the treatment, and when they do it is often unsatisfying.

It is not a secret that for those patients who have end stage renal disease or ESRD, dialysis becomes the only alternative to survive before actually thinking about getting a kidney transplant. However, if you are living in a developing country and don’t have the resources to pay for private treatment, your chances of being properly treated can run really low.

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Image courtesy of UNAMID at Flickr.com

Poverty, ignorance and the lack of medical resources are some of the most common elements that affect the possibilities patients have to access dialysis. Even sometimes, when patients have the chance to pay for a better treatment, this is not available in their region and there is little or nothing they can do about it once they are sick.

So, why all this happens? In this article, we will explore the main factors related to the way dialysis treatment takes place in developing countries. All this keeping in mind that many of the patients who need dialysis in these countries actually don’t know about it. This happens either because they cannot afford to go to the doctor, their healthcare systems are also poor, their records are not properly kept, or simply because they lack the will or intention to go to the doctor under these unpleasant circumstances.

Let’s take a look to some of the most important issues that affect the way patients who need dialysis treatment are actually treated in developing countries.

High costs

This is the most obvious and common factor related to many things that don’t operate properly in developing countries. When it comes to treating ESRD patients, healthcare providers face a critical situation because their ethics tells them they should treat the patients properly. However, the financial capacity keeps them away from actually doing so.

Setting and running a dialysis unit is rather expensive. Even though every country in the world has patients with kidney disease among its population, not many institutions have the needed resources to start a dialysis unit. Besides, when these dialysis units are actually set, they will need to keep on growing and being properly maintained. This also implies expenses related to the unit’s operation that many institutions can’t afford.

Machine problems

Let’s say that the dialysis unit was created. All the machines in it will need to be properly taken care of in order for it to be sustainable. Most times, the machines that are kept in good shape remain in the cities, where technicians and medical equipment companies are located at. This leaves the poorest areas of developing countries aside. Therefore, people who live in the areas (which also happen to be the poorest) has little or no chances to access the dialysis services.

Another problem related to dialysis machines is that they are not always enough to treat all the patients. In addition, the available machines are not often functioning and present multiple problems like breakdowns, missing parts, or obsolete systems. All this is being considered also keeping in mind that in some low-income areas power can also be off.

Staff problems

Problems related to machines are not the only ones to come. We also need to keep in mind that in order to use one of these dialysis machines, we need to count on the help of a prepared staff member, who knows how to use the machine.

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Image courtesy of US Army Africa at Flickr.com

Here we face bigger problems because sometimes there are not properly educated individuals who know how to operate the dialysis machines and when there are, wages are usually not enough for them to make a living out of it.

All this crisis happens because many of the dialysis units depend on the state. Public hospitals and public health care facilities are often poorly financed in developing countries, which makes it hard for the ideal staff to work at these places and operate dialysis units. As a consequence of this, many units need to close because they don’t have the required staff to work at them, and once they are restructured, they can be opened again.

It is important to keep in mind, that matter how poor a country is, the motivation of people to work is usually directly related to the amount of money that is being paid to them. If there are no resources to cover up for the staff expenses, then there won’t be enough or well-prepared people to work at dialysis units.

Related: The Most Common Questions Patients Have About Dialysis by Joe Cosgrove

* Featured Image courtesy of Albert González Farran, UNAMID at Flickr.com