How Chronic Kidney Disease & Dialysis Patients Can Better Manage Stress & Improve Their Lives

A viewer emailed KidneyBuzz.com and said, "I'm dealing with a ton of stress lately, it is becoming overwhelming. Do you have any suggestions on how to relieve it?" As you know, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis are difficult life-changing events, and alone these challenges may cause significant levels of stress. Drastic dietary and lifestyle changes only add to the anxiety Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients already have about  physical pain and fears of death.

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Beyond the stress, anxiety and concerns associated with Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients' health, they must also cope with the other day-to-day challenges of their lives such as: Financial and insurance issues, juggling Dialysis Treatments with other scheduled obligations, personal family responsibilities, job problems if they continue to work, other health challenges, death of a loved one; and even positive changes such as marriage or moving to a new address. Thus the question, how can patients cope?

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Well, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should know that stress is an important instinct to preserve the body in case of emergencies such as getting out of the way of a speeding car, but if it goes on for too long your body is working overtime with no place to put all the extra energy. This tends cause ailments such as anxiety, back pain, constipation or diarrhea, depression, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping or insomnia, problems with relationships, shortness of breath, stiff neck or jaw, upset stomach, and weight gain or loss. 

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Hence, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should attempt to reduce their stress level by meditating; solving the little problems (this can help them gain a feeling of control); preparing to the best of their ability for events they know may be stressful (such as monthly bills); trying to look at change as a positive challenge not as a threat; working to resolve conflicts with other people instead of holding grudges; discussing problems with a trusted friend, family member or counselor; setting realistic health outcome goals; avoiding being overscheduled; and not worrying about things they cannot control (such as the weather).

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Light exercise is also a good way for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients to deal with stress because it's a healthy way to relieve pent-up energy and tension while releasing "feel-good brain chemicals," according to FamilyDoctor.org. Moreover, Chronic Kidney Disease patients including those conducting Dialysis may consider the following steps to conduct stress reducing breathing exercises. 

  1. Lie down on a flat surface.
  2. Place a hand on your stomach, just above your navel. Place the other hand on your chest.
  3. Breathe in slowly and try to make your stomach rise a little.
  4. Hold your breath for a second.
  5. Breathe out slowly and let your stomach go back down.

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Friends, try to remember that you are not alone. There are others who are having the same problems as you so click here to Like the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page and reach out for peer-to-peer insights from the over 14,900 other patients with Chronic Kidney Disease including those on Dialysis as well as provide your own perspective. Also, join the over 88,000 unique individuals who visited KidneyBuzz.com just last month for the latest Breaking News and Information about how those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, and Diabetes can better manage and improve their lives.  

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