Most dialysis patients (especially those on haemodialysis) have to restrict their fluid intake. I have to stick to 500mls of fluid a day which is harder than you think as this also includes liquid that is contained in food.
Haemodialysis patients have to stick to a strict diet as various waste products can build up in your blood. Each kind can have a different effect on your health.
Salt can increase blood pressure, so patients are encouraged to reduce salt intake. (Salt also has the effect of increasing thirst, so it makes it more difficult for patients to restrict their fluid intake).
Potassium is a mineral which is found in the cells of body tissue, and any excess would normally be removed by the kidneys. Too high a level of potassium is bad for the heart - in extreme case it may even cause it to stop.
Phosphate is a substance that is widely found in foods. It works very closely with the mineral calcium, and the healthy body keeps these two substances in balance. Phosphate levels may be associated with itchiness and over the long term can damage blood vessels. I am currently on phosphate binders, which are taken whenever I eat, this reduces the level of phosphate in my blood.
Kidney patients can also lack vital nutrients such as…
Protein - This is an essential nutrient that enables the body to build muscles. Low levels of protein can lead to fluid retention and to a reduction of the body’s ability to fight off infections.
Vitamins - Some patients may need vitamin B and C supplements.
Iron levels may drop and cause anaemia, this can be replaced with iron tablets in my case to maintain my Heamoglobin (HB – which also effects iron levels) I have a drug called Aranesp… this is given in needle form into the machine, 20mg once a week.
I’m lucky at the minute; I only take 9 tablets a day:
Renagel 800 (2 tablets 3 x a day) – these are phosphate binders and control the amount of phosphate in my blood
Lansoprazole 30mg (once a day) – this helps prevent stomach ulcers
Alfacalcidol 0.25mg (once a day) – this is a vitamin D tablet that helps to control the level of calcium in my blood.
Aspirin 75mg (once a day) – to thin my blood, this is to ensure my fistula doesn’t clot.
Aranesp (injection form 20mg once a week) – control Haemoglobin levels in my blood.
Obviously as well as all this… we mustn’t forget the delights of tiredness all the time, nausea and dizziness!