Most Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Dialysis are very aware of the Arteriovenous (AV) Fistula. Technically it refers to an abnormal connection between a vein and artery. However, most understand it to be a type of Dialysis Access used by Hemodialysis patients to effectively receive life-sustaining Dialysis treatments. While the AV Fistula is extremely delicate and should be managed with care, patients may consider the following tailored Fistula Arm exercises in order to maintain the health and longevity of their access sites:
1.) Resistance Band Wrist Flexion - Patients may consider this exercise to help enlarge their veins in the arm in order to better prepare them for Dialysis days. The process is pretty simple: Using a resistance band, place one end underneath your foot as you sit in a sturdy chair. Hold the other end of the resistance band with your affected arm. Rest your forearm on your thigh with the palm side of your hand facing the ceiling. Bend your wrist up slowly and as far as possible. Your forearm should never leave your thigh. Complete this exercise as directed by your Healthcare Team.
2.) Weighted Wrist Flexion - Chronic Kidney Disease patients who are conducting Dialysis should not lift heavy items with their Fistula Arm. Yet according to Livestrong.com, the use of a weight that is three (3) pounds or less may actually be useful in completing a lesser known AV Fistula exercise. If a weight is not available, use a single can of food. Simply, rest your arm on a table so that your wrist is hanging over the edge with your palm down. Grasp the weight in your hand. Slowly raise your wrist and hold it for a few seconds. Lower your wrist again and repeat. Your Nephrologists can recommend how often and how many repetitions are best for you.
3.) Resisted Forearm Supination - Supination of the forearm is a rotational movement where the hand and upper arm are turned outward. This exercise is really easy and can be completed while seated or standing. Place the palm of the Fistula Arm down on your thigh. Use your other hand to hold the arm in place. Slowly turn your hand up as far as you can while applying light resistance with your opposite hand. Hold this position for a few seconds. Relax and repeat.
4.) Hand Grips and Stress Balls - These tools are typically used to help the AV Fistula mature, but according to some sources they can also be great exercises to improve the health of an AV Fistula. These are nifty devices which patients can use at home, in the car or in any other convenient location.
The exercises your Nephrologists recommend will depend on where your specific AV Fistula is located (usually located in the forearm or upper arm). Before you start any fitness activity, be sure to discuss which exercises you plan on incorporating into your day-to-day routine. Also, check your AV Fistula ever day for a strong thrill, lookout for signs of infection such as redness, and wash and pat dry your Fistula Arm thoroughly right before each treatment, recommended DaVita (the second largest Dialysis Organization in the United States).
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DaVita also noted, "When having your blood pressure taken or blood drawn, use your Non-Fistula Arm." This is because placing a blood pressure cuff or needle in the AV Fistula could cause long-term damage or failure. Most patients would be shocked to learn how often this happens. Tracey Reynolds said, "I am a Nephrology Nurse and see the terrible outcomes and heartbreak when access fail or get destroyed." Hence, click here and order the nationally recognized No BP/No Stick Fistula Protector Wristband to help avoid an otherwise preventable accident from happening to your AV Fistula.
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