Dialysis at Home: How to Make Living with Kidney Disease Easier
If your doctor has diagnosed you with kidney disease, it’s perfectly normal to feel angry, sad, and overwhelmed. Give yourself time to process these emotions, but remember while doing so that you’re not helpless in the face of this disease. People with kidney disease can live long and happy lives with proper disease management. Here are a few things you can do to make living with the kidney disease a bit easier.
Listen to Your Body
It’s possible for those with kidney disease to continue enjoying an active lifestyle. In fact, doctors recommend that their patients stay as active as they can. You will likely find, however, that a bad day here and there is part of the kidney disease package. People report feeling extremely run down upon occasion, often comparing their exhaustion to having the flu. When you do have a bad day, accept it and give yourself time to rest and relax. Pushing yourself will make you feel worse and could lengthen the time it takes to bounce back. You’ll have more good days if you listen to your body rather than pushing yourself on the bad ones.
Even when well managed, kidney disease does take a toll on the body. As such, you’re likely to find yourself a bit more susceptible to illness. You can help give your immune system a boost by getting all the vaccinations your doctor recommends, including an annual flu shot and the shingles vaccine, when appropriate. Vaccinations will help you avoid feeling constantly beleaguered by the sniffles and stomach bugs.
Consider Dialysis at Home
Dialysis sessions will become an important part of your routine after a kidney disease diagnosis. Although you and your doctor will work out the best dialysis schedule for you, most people undergo four-hour dialysis sessions about three times a week. You can have your treatments done in a hospital or dialysis center, but you may have the option of treating yourself at home. A home dialysis machine eliminates the need to travel for sessions and lets you perform your treatments in a more comfortable home setting.
In time, you’ll learn the ins and outs of living with kidney disease and managing the disease will become less stressful. Once things are going smoothly, take precautions to make sure they keep going well. Talk to your dialysis treatment center about what you should do if bad weather makes keeping an appointment impossible. If you perform your dialysis at home, invest in a generator so a power outage doesn’t mean missing a treatment. Have extra medication and dialysis supplies on hand so you’re ready for anything. If you’re traveling, make sure you pack your medications and supplies in a carry-on bag so they’re not lost, and call ahead to make an appointment with a dialysis center if you’ll need a session while away. Planning ahead helps keep your stress level down.
Kidney disease changes how you do some things, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you enjoy. Your doctor will help you understand your treatment options and work with you to keep your life active and enjoyable. You may have to plan a little further in advance than you used to and do some things differently, but these changes are manageable. After an initial learning curve and adjustment period, you’ll find yourself managing your illness like a pro. It may seem scary at first, but you’ve got this.
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