Learning To Live On Dialysis: Improving Quality Of Life And Chances For A Kidney Transplant



If a Chronic Kidney Disease patient refuses Dialysis their blood gets toxic, they lose their appetites, they get lots of nausea and vomiting, they lose memory, they go into a coma, and basically they die, suggested Dr. Andrew Levine (Nephrologist). While it keeps patients alive, Dialysis is far from an ideal option for most. No one that conducts Dialysis has to be reminded of how difficult the treatment can be. It impacts a patient's quality of life and peace of mind. That is why KidneyBuzz.com has identified a few basic strategies which patients can immediately use, with the assistance of their Healthcare Teams, to help directly improve their health outcomes and quality of life.

Life Expectancy: When a patient is first diagnosed with Kidney Failure or told that they must begin Dialysis, it feels like the world is crashing down around them. The first thing patients often think is that they will soon die. Juan Martinez (Dialysis patient) said, “People think, ‘Oh Dialysis. Oh, that’s the end or whatever’ And I have been learning and I ask questions. And they tell me you can live 15, 20 years being on Dialysis, as long as you take care of yourself." While it is not the case for everyone, the life expectancy for Dialysis patients has been increasing and some patients report that they have conducted Dialysis for over 30 years. Dialysis is not a death sentence. For creative recipes to help maintain the Renal and Diabetic diets more easily, click here to visit KidneyBuzz.com Impact Meals. Also, like the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page for breaking news and useful, easy to understand information tailored for the Chronic Kidney Disease Community.

Kidney Transplant: It is sad to know that over 101,400 people are awaiting a Kidney Transplant. What is worse is that "from 2004 to 2013, 63,742 persons died or became too sick for transplantation while awaiting a kidney," according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Currently, the average wait time for a kidney is five (5) to seven (7) years. Fortunately, Social Media is becoming an increasingly effective resource for patients to share their stories and connect with altruistic (kindhearted) individuals willing to donate a kidney to patients in need. These same donors are so thrilled about their decision to donate and save the life of another, that they share their stories with others which are beginning to influence a growing number of people to also consider the idea of living kidney donation.  If you would like assistance sharing your need for a kindhearted living kidney donor, then click here.

AV Fistula (Lifeline) Management: For Dialysis patients, the AV Fistula is not only critically important to clean the blood, it is also extremely delicate. How many times have you had to tell a nurse or phlebotomist (people trained to draw blood) to avoid placing a Blood Pressure Cuff on or a needle in your AV Fistula Arm? Well, imagine that you were unconscious during an emergency situation or after a surgery - what would happen? An accident can happen in an instant which may damage or destroy your fistula. Be sure to click here and order your Fistula Protector Wristband. Also, check your thrill (AV Fistula Buzz) daily. Consider purchasing an inexpensive stethoscope from Walmart or Target to better listen to your Fistula Buzz. If you would like to try a few regular exercises which can help strengthen your lifeline, then click here.

Issues With Care: Dr. Levine, suggested that the number of people who need Dialysis is surpassing available help, "There are too many patients and few physicians, especially, in my specialty area,” he told KRGV.com. Kidney Failure is becoming a  humongous problem because of the increase in Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Obesity which have shown to directly contribute to the need for Dialysis. Since some Healthcare Professionals can at times be over-worked, aloof, and/or ineffective, if a Dialysis patient is experiencing issues which are not being addressed, then contact your local End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network. The mission of  all eighteen (18)  ESRD Networks throughout the country is to promote and improve the quality of care for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients. Complete below form to access the contact information to your ESRD Network.  

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Energy Levels: One of the biggest challenges Dialysis patients have are their low levels of energy. Many patients have to quit their jobs and find that they do not have the energy to spend time with their loved ones as they would otherwise want to do. The good news is that Dialysis patients can improve their energy levels by incorporating certain foods into their diets.  Good options include rice, pasta and starchy vegetables, eye of round beef, lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, poultry, fish, eggs and egg substitutes. Also, consider substituting high fats such as lard, butter, and hydrogenated cooking oils for unsaturated fats (also known as good fats) like canola, olive or corn oil and soft trans-fat-free margarine. Skipping meals or eating meals too far apart may take a toll on energy balance. 

Sadness and Depression: Depression is the most common psychiatric illness in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease. An analysis showed that 34.5% of patients on Dialysis were depressed. Since depression has been shown to limit patient survival, Chronic Kidney Disease patients can employ a few unique tricks to combat their depression. When you are feeling sad or depressed consider getting outside (even if it is just sitting on the porch), walking, calling a friend that can make you laugh, watching a comedy show, and reminding yourself of the little things you are grateful for (having shelter, food, family, love in your life, etc.).  Obviously, if these strategies prove ineffective for you then you may consider talking to your Nephrologist who can prescribe medication or refer you to a professional. 

Recommended Reading: Learn how to Beat Depression and Improve the Quality of Your Life

How do you manage living life while conduct Dialysis? Has life become harder or easier for you since first beginning Dialysis? Whether you are new to Dialysis or a long-time patient, the over 38,000 Friends on the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page can learn a lot from your experiences. Click here to leave your response, and be sure to like the page so you do not miss any of the lively Chronic Kidney Disease related discussion. Also, follow our over 115,000 monthly viewers and visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly for the latest breaking news and information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives.

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