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Life is change
Once all important steps after diagnosis have been taken care of, you will steadily get accustomed to live with dialysis. As the initial feelings of confusion and fright are gone, it’s time to take control of your life again. With renal failure in particular, it is important to take a close look at your daily routine: What do I want to do? What challenges will I have to face, and what are my priorities in life? And furthermore, how can I organize myself so that I can meet my goals?
Many patients feel tired following a dialysis session. Take it easy for the rest of the day.
Normally, you will have your energy back the next day. Try to maintain your hobbies and your everyday life. After consulting with your doctor, you can also enjoy exercises or sports on dialysis-free days or even during dialysis. In fact, you can pretty much do anything that makes you feel good.
With renal failure in particular, it is helpful to take a close look at your daily and weekly routine. Dialysis needs continuity to keep you well, but there is always a degree of flexibility to make your life work. Patients who undergo dialysis treatment purposely optimize their schedule to make better use of their time. Set your priorities and organize your life accordingly. A regular schedule will keep you strong and help you stay active.More about successful time management
Remember that your roles in life as wife, husband, parent, friend or expert in your particular profession, are still there and remain important. Make a conscious effort to take care of them.
It’s valuable to engage in sports. Exercise can be the best medicine. Regular exercise not only allows you to enjoy life more, it can also improve blood pressure, metabolism, and usually helps to maintain an ideal weight as well. The staff at the renal care center is ready to assist with useful tips on staying fit, even with simple exercises you can do during dialysis. Physical activity in the form of regular walks or other sports should become a part of daily routine. Just make sure to consult with your healthcare team before starting any new activities.
Many patients with chronic disease go through difficult phases or frustrations. Always remember: Your family, friends as well as the people in your renal care center are there for you if you need support and always have your best interests at heart. Don’t be afraid to ask. Open communication is important for your health – both mental and physical. In addition, there’s the opportunity to join self-help groups or patient communities. You never walk alone.
In kidney disease in particular, a balanced diet is essential for your well-being and to avoid further complications. But this does not mean your diet has to be bland and boring. You may need to be careful with certain types of food and you will also likely have to restrict the amount of fluids that you drink to feel well and to manage your dialysis treatment successfully.More about diet with kidney disease
Renal failure should not effect on your ability to drive. However, if you are suffering from heart problems or impaired vision as a result of the disease or feel unwell after treatment, then ask your doctor for advice.
Of course you should be able to exercise. Especially for dialysis patients physical activity may have a positive effect: Accompanying illnesses can be alleviated, sport may be efficient against vascular calcification and may lower blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipid levels. A series of health factors that you can have influence on.
Walking, for example, can help
Smoking may be harmful. Smoking puts can put a strain on the heart and blood vessels. If you are undergoing dialysis, then you should stop smoking.
The physical and emotional changes caused by renal failure can also affect your sex life. Sexual appetite and sexual activity can be reduced as a result. Men may experience impotence at the beginning of dialysis treatment. Talk to your doctor about this. Such problems can usually be easily resolved by adjusting your medication. Women are generally able to have children in spite of kidney disease. However, careful risk assessment and close coordination with your doctor is essential.
Being on dialysis does not automatically mean that you must stop working. Many patients with renal failure work full- or part-time. If your doctor agrees and you feel well enough, you should continue to work. To a large extent, your treatment plan can be adapted to suit your needs.
In general, you will be able to continue studying. Please discuss your needs with the dialysis team and they will try to accommodate your dialysis sessions to fit in with your course of study.
Unfortunately feelings of depression and anxiety are common in patients on dialysis. Many patients experience mood swings when they have started dialysis, which you and your family may sometimes find difficult to deal with. One of the most helpful things you can do is understand that these feelings are real, and need to be shared. You do not have to deal with this on your own. Approach your care team about your anxiety, and they will be able to help you. Some people also find it useful to talk to other patients, and see how they have coped. So you can also contact your local Kidney Patients Association. Expressing your feelings is healthy, and is important so your family can help you, too. Remember, a chronic disease like kidney failure affects both you and your loved ones. But don’t take your anger out on your family, or make them feel guilty about your illness. Talk to your care team. There is plenty of help that they can give you. It is important for you to find a way to cope with the difficulties of dialysis so that you can lead a fulfilling life outside of dialysis.
The renal care center will always have qualified nursing and medical staff with whom you can raise your concerns. Also there will be links with social workers, psychologists and dieticians if you have more specific needs. There are self-help groups available. All of the staff have a wealth of experience and will be able to listen to you and help. There are thousands of patients who have successfully passed through the difficult early stages of renal failure. The important thing is to remember you do not have to cope with this alone.