Kidney failure: Doctors on tips for dialysis patients to avoid frequent hospitalisations, stay healthy

Dialysis is a potentially life-saving treatment for renal failure patients, but it is also a time-consuming procedure that, at first, can be frightening and drastically alter one’s quality of life. Dialysis has been suggested for people with end-stage renal disease or kidney failure. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, dialysis is required. Its job is similar to that of the kidneys in that it removes waste products, regulates blood pressure, and maintains a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, including potassium, sodium, bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphorous among others.

Dialysis can be difficult because it frequently necessitates many trips to the hospital. It’s crucial for dialysis patients to take precautions to prevent or minimise hospitalisations because they can interrupt a patient’s life and be expensive. Here are some useful pointers and ideas to help you avoid the hospital and have a better quality of life, from adhering to a suitable dialysis schedule to keeping good hygiene and eating a balanced diet.

Dialysis patients can take a number of actions to cut down on or avoid hospital stays while undergoing dialysis.

  1. Stick to the regular dialysis times: “It’s crucial to show up for all scheduled dialysis sessions and not skip any treatments. Dr. Deepanshu Gupta, urologist, MBBS, MS – General Surgery, MCh – Urology, warns that skipping dialysis might result in a buildup of waste and toxins in the body, which can cause major health issues.
  2. “Never skip a hemodialysis appointment; doing so could result in an unneeded emergency visit. Hemodialysis sessions should last four hours each. Never request that the technician shorten the dialysis session. The ideal type of vascular access for hemodialysis is an AV fistula, which should be created as soon as possible, advises Dr. Mohit Khirbat, Consultant, Nephrology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.
  3. Practice proper hand washing and hygiene: “Hygiene practises and proper hand washing can help lower the risk of infection, which is a common reason for hospitalisation among dialysis patients. Also, Dr. Gupta advises patients not to touch the dialysis access site with unclean hands.
  4. Limit your intake of fluids: According to Dr. Suman Lata, Director of Nephrology at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, “Most patients will be weighed before and after dialysis and will be asked to monitor their weight on a daily basis at home to avoid complications by excess fluid accumulation in the body.”
  5. Take prescription medications: “Patients should take all prescribed medications as indicated by their healthcare practitioner, including medications for lowering blood pressure, managing anaemia, and preventing infections,” advises Dr. Khirbat.
  6. Have a routine monthly appointment with your nephrologist to review the treatment plan and address any potential issues before they arise, advises Dr. Khirbat.
  7. Adhere strictly to your doctor’s diet recommendations: A high protein, low sodium, and low potassium diet is often recommended. According to Dr. Khirbat, fluid restriction is based on how much pee the patient produces each day.
  8. Taking care of the access: Daily inspection for infection symptoms like warmth and redness is necessary. Dr. Suman Lata advises checking for blood flow everyday by feeling for vibrations at the fistula site.
  9. Monitor vital signs: According to Dr. Gupta, dialysis patients must monitor vital signs like blood pressure and haemoglobin in order to stay healthy and prevent complications that could require hospitalisation.
  10. Keep moving: “Daily exercise might help you feel better physically and mentally. See your doctor about the safest forms of exercise for you, advises Dr. Gupta.
  11. Further recommendations: Have a stock of your medications (2–3 weeks worth) and take them as directed at regular intervals. Avoid drinking and smoking since they can damage your kidneys. If you have diabetes or hypertension, keep an eye on and manage your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, advises Dr. Suman.