Life on Dialysis: Important Changes Patients Should Consider

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Individuals who need dialysis care should continue to enjoy life and find ways to stay involved in activities they love. Despite the many things to consider while on dialysis, many people do find ways to spend time with friends and family and still live life to the fullest while following the required recommendations. However, there is a great deal of information to learn and new schedules to follow in order to attend dialysis sessions each week. Here are some important changes to consider while starting your life on dialysis.      

One important area of information to learn while living on dialysis is to understand dietary guidelines. Of course, you should always speak with your physician and the professional staff at your dialysis center but there are some basic guidelines to consider.

Standard dietary requirements usually include eating more foods that are high in protein while reducing foods that are high in salt, potassium and phosphorus. Individuals living on dialysis should also learn about the amount of fluid they should consume daily, including the amount of coffee, tea and water. The reason for reducing salt and sodium is to help control blood pressure and reduce weight gain that may occur. Usually grains, cereal and bread are permitted unless you are required to watch your calorie intake or monitor your blood sugar. The amount of milk/yogurt and cheese usually are limited since they are high in phosphorous. It is important to speak to your dietician or doctor about dairy foods that are low in phosphorous so you can still enjoy this food group. Fruits and juices have some potassium but certain fruits have more than others. You should receive instruction from your center for dialysis or consult with a nutritionist about food choices and dietary restrictions.

As part of your life on dialysis, emergency meal planning is important. An emergency meal plan is necessary to help control your potassium phosphorous and fluid intake in the event you are unable to make it to your dialysis care center. Emergencies may occur due to bad weather, loss of electricity, and illnesses. Also keep distilled water, a sufficient supply of medicine, insulin if you are diabetic, emergency phone numbers, extra batteries for radios and flashlights, and measuring cups and scales.

Despite the many restrictions for living on dialysis, learning to live on dialysis and maintain a quality of life is important. If you are tired, consider listening to music, enjoying a favorite television show or movie and keeping in touch with friends and family. Ask for help if you are feeling down or tired. Your energy levels may vary but there are many ways to participate in activities and not be alone. Education about life on dialysis is an important way to gain greater understanding while finding ways to enjoy your life.

For more information on Abramson Dialysis, please call Abramson Care Advisors at 215-371-3400.