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.

exercise_Dialysis_health

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

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.

exercise_stretching_health_Dialysis

Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

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.

Advertisements

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.

working_dialysis_Renal compensation

Image courtesy of Marc Mueller at Pexels.com

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.

active-athletic-exercise-female_renal failure

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.

Some significant concepts about the Renal Compensation

As we have seen in different posts, the renal function is vital for human’s living. Through this process, the human body can filter the toxins and different substances from the blood, which cleans it and gives to people what they need to have a good quality living. If the renal system does not work adequately, a renal failure may occur. This problem could be defined in a few words like the impossibility for the body to process the different substances from the blood. A renal failure could be acute or chronic. Let’s see some of the most imperative concepts about this topic and some of its elements.

Acute renal failure

This renal failure is when the human body loses an important blood amount, or if for some reason a particular person ingests a toxic substance, causing the kidneys to fail and eventually to generate renal failures. In other words, an acute renal affectation could be generated by different external situations that change the normal functioning of the human body.

Chronic renal failure

This affectation is generated for some diseases or healthy hereditary problems, causing failures in the renal system. In some occasions, these issues are incurable and may require constant medical intervention, like dialysis or surgeries.

These two concepts are vital to understanding what the Renal Compensation is because they explain in a few words how the renal system works and which are its affectations. Having this clear, we can talk about other important concepts like the respiratory compensation, the respiratory acidosis, the respiratory alkalosis or the Glomerular Filtration Rate. However, it is important to understand firstly what the Renal Compensation is.

Renal Dialysis Technician

Image courtesy of wistechcolleges at Flickr.com

The Renal Compensation concept

It could be defined as the process where the kidneys can regulate the acidity in the plasma, that is to say, that through the Renal Compensation, the human body can establish and control the pH in the blood.

When the plasma pH differs from 7.4, the body could suffer acidemia or alkalemia. Acidemia is when the blood acidity is lesser than 7.4, which means lack of acids which must be in the blood. Alkalemia occurs when the plasma pH is higher than 7.4 and means an excess of acid substances in the blood. When some of these problems occur, the human body can suffer respiratory or metabolic problems, and they could happen if there is a lack of Renal Compensation.

The Glomerular Filtration Rate

This concept refers to the filtered fluid volume in time by the human body, from the renal system to the Bowman capsule, which is part of the renal functioning where all the body substances to be excreted are filtered. Through this rate, the correct working of the renal system is measured, in other words, the Glomerular Filtration Rate is used for knowing if the kidneys and other elements from the renal circuit are operating in an adequate way.

Usually, the Glomerular Filtration Rate is measured through different techniques. Some of the most important are the measurement using inulin, the measurement with radioactive tracers, the estimation using the Cockcroft-Gault formula, the MDRD formula or the Starling Leonardo technique. Each one of these methods is developed to know and understand how the level of filtered fluids in the blood by the renal system, is working.

The Glomerular Filtration Rate is measured millimeters per minutes. In men, the adequate rate is 90 ± 14 millimeters per minute, in women is 60 ± 10 millimeters per minute.

hemodialysis_renal compensation

Image courtesy of Senado Federal at Flickr.com

Respiratory compensation

It is a medical method to change the blood acidity varying the respiratory rate. Put differently, the Respiratory compensation is a mechanism to alter the breathing way in the human body so the plasma pH can vary, depending on what the person needs.

The normal breathing rates in humans are measured in breaths per minute and are distributed like this:

In children, the normal rates are: from birth to six weeks of living, between 30 to 40 breaths per minute, from 6 months to three years, between 25 to 40 breaths per minute, from three to six years, 20 to 30 breaths per minute, and from six years to ten years, between 17 to 23 breaths per minute.

In adults, the rates are 12 to 18 breaths per minute, older than 65 years, between 12 to 28 breaths per minute, and older than 80 years, 10 to 30 breaths per minute.

We have seen some of the most used and recognized concepts in the Renal compensation process, but there are much more that must be understood to have a fuller picture of this term and its functioning. For example, other important notions about it are the Creatinine clearance, the Kt/V and its standardization, the Renal blood flow, the Ultrafiltration, the Filtration fraction, the PaH clearance, among other elements that are fundamental for the renal system understanding and its renal compensation.

Related: Dispelling The Most Common Myths About Kidney Disease by Joe Cosgrove