Movement is Life: Advice On How To Make Dialysis Less Tiresome

Joe Cosgrove has previously covered the topic of dialysis from all possible angles. In fact, one of the most important aspects of the things that surround this condition is the need for physical activity, for it has been proven that a dialysis lifestyle with limited or non-existent physical activity can worsen the condition and increase the risk of falling into severe depression, high blood pressure, lower and weaker immune function, heart disease and swelling in both feet and lungs.

Many dialysis patients firmly believe they cannot do any physical activity because the conditions prevent them from carrying out what would be traditionally considered “normal” exercise; however, it has been proven by many institutions, physicians and studies that even a mild and minor workout for short periods ranging from 15 to 20 minutes—of course, tailored to every case—can result in a positive outcome for those patients. Not only can regular physical activity cause a much healthier blood flow, stronger muscles and improve overall immune function, but it also will help maintain healthy tissue which is linked to aiding digestion, absorption, and metabolism in general.

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Dialysis patients must determine with their primary physician the type of workout they should attempt, paying special attention to not overheating during the exercise, for it can lead to increased fluid consumption and overload. Although extreme workouts like weight lifting should totally be avoided due to the fistula, those with heart conditions can definitely find exercise beneficial. It is fine to workout to a point where the individual feels tired and even short of breath to some extent; however, they should pay special attention to not getting past the point of exhaustion. Symptoms such as chest pain and sudden shortness of breath, and even severe muscular pain and joint pain should be enough for individuals to stop every physical activity and seek advice with their primary physicians.

When it comes to the nature of the exercises, there are plenty of choices. There are many indoor workouts and exercises those individuals on dialysis can carry out; however, as mentioned above, the wisest thing to do is to consult with a nephrologist prior to recklessly rushing into it. A doctor can tailor a workout routine that will aid those with this condition. For instance, one of the most important yet disregarded physical activities is stretching. Stretching has proven to be effective at warming up the muscles and ligaments, thusly increasing the blood flow across the body. And, above all, the best part of stretching is that it can be done pretty much anywhere and does not require special equipment.

Stretching is obviously crucial prior to executing more demanding exercises, as well as after a workout. And although it might seem almost pretty much self-explanatory, it is nonetheless advisable to first consult with the nephrologist what kind of stretching activities are best for each stage of the condition. Bear in mind that the idea is to avoid any kind of damage to the vascular access.

Cardiovascular workouts are also of tremendous importance for those individuals on dialysis. Cardiovascular exercises, commonly referred to as simply cardio, is linked to providing important benefits to the heart. People who have a home gym or are looking forward to putting one together should go for either a treadmill or a stationary bike since both are perfect options for cardiovascular indoor exercises. And even though not everybody has got enough space at home to bring in large pieces of equipment, there will always be alternatives such as jogging in place just to get the heartbeat up.

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A very wise thing to do is to keep a journal day after day. It is known that being on dialysis is quite nagging, but things can be improved nonetheless. Logging one’s progress each day by timing how long did the workout last is a way to push oneself towards a new personal mark—which provides emotional support and enhances current mood—. It is important not to disregard the tremendous effect striving to accomplish a goal can have on people under similar conditions. Renal failure, in this case, supposes a daunting challenge: individuals struggle with the condition, and the odds of falling victim of depression are high. However, and as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, not only is exercise beneficial for the condition but also brings along a much greater effect: improves mentality and attitude. No matter how nagging the condition may be, ceasing not to do everything to improve at least something about the whole picture is vital: it makes people mentally stronger while they improve their bodies.

Dialysis is not the end of the road: is quite a speed bump, but it can be made livable by setting the right expectations and internalizing the fact that movement is life. Work out and start making changes today.

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How to avoid starting dialysis sooner than expected

Although Joe Cosgrove has previously mentioned that starting dialysis is not the end of the world—in fact, he addressed the topic from different points of view including one major concern: how can individuals and patients under dialysis get the most out of life once they start the treatment?—. Many people fear that they will have to quit their jobs, or that they will have to dramatically change their lifestyles. The truth is, the onset of dialysis can be delayed to some extent. And although it is very tough to be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, if patients are diagnosed in the early stages of such condition, there certain steps and measures they can take to get the most out of their kidneys and prolong kidney function.

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Following a physician’s advice, it is possible to still enjoy a healthy life even with kidney disease. Following adequate and good health practices, staying on the job and continuing to enjoy other leisure activities and social events are ways an individual can overcome the apparent lack of control of their condition. Additionally, aside from following a physician’s advice in order to avoid starting dialysis sooner that expected, having a job with a solid health insurance helps provide security and other health benefits.

One thing is still certain: there are a plethora of causes that may cause chronic kidney disease; however, there is also a myriad of recommendations that, if followed properly, can help an individual delay kidney failure—which is what leads to dialysis and kidney transplant.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease in North America and other western countries are diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases have always been on the rise in the American country, which has also caused an increase in the number of patients who suffer from certain chronic kidney disease. The first step, of course, to control any type of CKD is by controlling the aforementioned conditions.

Diabetes and how to extend kidney function

People who suffer from diabetes need to mind their blood glucose levels. There is no shortcut. Blood glucose levels must be kept in an adequate range in accordance with physicians recommend. Additionally, hemoglobin A1C should be below 6.5%. And, of course, patients suffering from early stage chronic kidney disease need to have their kidneys tested at least once a year.

Research has shown that certain high blood pressure medicines are able to protect the kidneys of those who also suffer from diabetes, even they also have normal blood pressure levels.

The high blood pressure scenario

Individuals with high blood pressure—also known as hypertension—, should consult with their primary physician in order to get their blood pressure medicine. As recommended by the The National Heart and Blood Institute, it is recommended to have blood pressure under control (at 120/80 or even lower for those who have early stage kidney disease. For those who suffer from diabetes, blood pressure should be around 130/85.

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Other diseases commonly associated with chronic kidney disease

Aside from the previously mentioned diseases, there are several other conditions that can lead to suffering from chronic kidney disease: glomerulonephritis and lupus, for instance. These diseases affect the immune system, causing it to overact, which ends up affecting the kidneys (due to inflammation). In order to slow down the pace at which the kidneys deteriorate under these circumstances, a physician can prescribe certain medicines such as steroids.

Chronic kidney disease is also a direct consequence of certain infections and other medicines that happen to be detrimental to the organs. Infections, for instance, can be wiped out through the controlled used of antibiotics; certain medications, such as painkillers or antibiotics cause a negative impact on the kidneys: patients with these conditions need to be straightforward with their physicians about their CKD prior to initiating other treatments in hopes of avoiding a worse condition and prevent further damage.

Prolonging kidney function

Irrespective of how an individual develops chronic kidney disease, there are certain steps people can take in hopes of prolonging kidney function. Smoking, for example, is known for having a direct impact and correlation with the progression of kidney disease, therefore, and simply put, it is recommended that those with early stage kidney disease stop spending their money on cigarettes and tobacco. Of course, adopting a healthy diet, losing weight and working out are crucial activities that can act in the betterment of kidney condition. People with high blood pressure should also limit sodium in their diets: physicians believe that avoiding a certain amount of phosphorus and protein may also slow down the pace at which kidneys deteriorate; however, research continues on other foods—and even medicines—to see whether they act in the best interest of the health of the patient.

It is also important to remember that every CKD is unique. It is best to first address a physician and work out on a plan to prevent and slow down the disease while getting the most of life. It is perfectly possible.

The Most Significant Early Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States of America. According to the American Kidney Fund, around 31 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease and men are more likely than women to have CKD. The leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, and that is why in some cases people fail to realize they have kidney problems until it’s too late. What seems to be a symptom of a different ailment ends up becoming the main health issue with many of these patients. One of the biggest problems with kidney disease is the psychological aspect that brings with it, as patients often feel like they are losing control over their life as their body doesn’t seem to respond to them, or acts in ways they aren’t familiar with.

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The kidneys are responsible for keeping the human body’s chemistry in balance, a task that truly takes a toll on these amazing organs. As resilient as they are, the kidneys often suffer due to many different reasons and eventually become overwhelmed with all the stress they must perform under.

Today in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog, we want to take the time to look at some of the most significant early signs that can let you know that you may be developing kidney disease, with the hopes that you can do something about it before treatment becomes necessary.

Changes in urine

Since the kidneys are the organs in charge of producing the urine, this byproduct will be one of the first indicators that something may be amiss. Changes in urine can be identified as those in the appearance of color and the presence of foam, and also changes in the frequency in which the patient urinates or feels the urge to do so but is unable to produce any liquid. In some cases, there may be a pain while urinating or also the presence of blood.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath may be present in the onset of kidney disease because the fluid buildup in the body can be so severe that it can reach the lungs, something that will undoubtedly affect a patient’s breathing. Anemia or the lack of red blood cells in the organism can be another reason why patients may feel a lot of difficulty breathing.

Trouble sleeping

If kidneys stop working correctly, they amount of toxins that build up in the body will reach dangerous levels and will start affecting the organism in many ways. Patients report having trouble sleeping due to a constant feeling of discomfort that cannot be easily identified, they simply feel like they can’t sit still and have a lot of trouble resting.

Dry and itchy skin

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Dry skin and constant itching are also symptoms of excess toxin build up in the body. Bone disease is also something else that may be present when kidneys fail, and constant itching is a clear symptom of that complication. Most of this happens because kidneys are losing the ability to properly balance nutrients, toxins, and minerals in the body.

Swollen joints

Swollen joints and general swelling are a sign that the body is holding excess water because they kidneys are not able to properly regulate bodily fluids, so they stay inside the body longer than they need to be. All of this is a side effect of sodium retention, something that happens because they kidneys are failing, and as sodium is kept in the body, so is water because it is retained by the sodium itself.

Puffiness around the eyes

If the kidneys aren’t working correctly, then things like protein will start to leak into the urine or other areas of the body. This together with excess fluids being retained is going to start showing in the face of the patient as swelling of the eyelids and cheeks.

Poor appetite

Patients with kidney disease will not feel the need to eat as much as healthy individuals. This is rather significant since these patients will still continue to gain weight even as they eat less everyday. The lack of appetite happens due to excess toxin build up in the body.

Muscle cramps

Electrolyte imbalance can start to manifest in the muscle by cramping and general soreness of the area. Low-level calcium and an imbalance in phosphorous levels make it, so they body is not properly using the fluids that it retains, and that can create painful muscle cramps.

Dizziness and problem thinking clearly

Another one of the symptoms has to do with mental acuity and the ability to think clearly. The brain may not be getting enough oxygen, and that is how it starts to show. Patients with kidney failure may begin to feel dizzy and have flash episodes in which they faint or lose balance. The ability to think clearly and solve simple problems starts to diminish as the body deteriorates.