Side effects and complications from dialysis make continuing treatment very difficult for some. Individuals suffering with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) have to contend with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, neuropathy, and frequent infections and hospitalizations. At times, it seems as though their quality of life is not improving so they decide that they have had enough and want to give up.
Patients are allowed to make their own decisions about stopping dialysis treatment, but KidneyBuzz.com highly recommends that you discuss your reasons for wanting to stop treatment with your healthcare team and your love ones before making your final decision. Often having spoken to their family members and healthcare team solutions are found for their concerns and they often change their minds.
The fact is that if you are an ESRD patient without life sustaining dialysis or a kidney transplant, the toxins will build up in your body to such a degree that you will die within a few weeks. As the toxins build up, a person may experience certain physical and emotional changes. The body has a normal, natural way to prepare itself to stop. In the final days, the body starts to shut down. In most instances, the shut-down is an orderly series of physical changes which may include:
• Loss of appetite and fluid overload
• Sleeping most of the day
• Changes in color and skin temperature
• Visions of people who do not exist
• Disorientation, confusion and failure to recognize familiar faces
• Normal breathing patterns may become shallow, irregular, fast or extremely slow
• Congestion causes saliva and mucus to collect in the back of your throat and you may hear a gurgling sound.
End-of-life discussions are always the hardest subjects to discuss. Although it is difficult to generalize about any individual in this situation, you can clearly see the gravity of such a decision for not only the person suffering with ESRD but also their love ones. The fundamental reason for why you should continue dialysis is that in the long run you will feel better physically and you will find that you have a primary purpose here on Earth for which you have not yet fulfilled. And dialysis can keep you alive so you can accomplish it.
Reference: "What Happens If Someone Stops Dialysis?" - DaVita.