New here, on dialysis: Hello, I'm a 52 year... - Kidney Dialysis

Kidney Dialysis
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New here, on dialysis



I'm a 52 year old female in Greece, 1 year on Dialysis now, after a journey of failed fistula creation attempts and finally a graft placement due to very thin veins. Started dialysis last July after an 18 year diet struggle to keep function of the one kidney I have. (the other one was lost for unknown reasons, though we suspect it was lost during my 1st pregnancy some 28 years ago).

My journey with dialysis this past year has been quite eventful with regards to side effects. Sure, I feel much more energetic since I started, however, that last hour of dialysis is a nightmare of palpitations and cramps from hell. The team at the dialysis center keep raising my dry weight, which makes sense, yet doesn't seem to resolve the cramps. I'm now on magnesium supplement, vitamin e, double the carnitine dose during every dialysis session and dextrose, but still to no avail, that last hour is just cramp hell.

I still work a full time job, try to exercise as much as I can (and as much as my body allows me to), and basically trying to keep my life unchanged, working around the dialysis hours. However, this appears to be impossible sometimes, and the nightmare of that last hour of dialysis doesn't make it any easier.

Anyone else on dialysis with similar experience? I keep trying to research these side effects, trying to get a grasp on things, but can't seem to get anything other than what is already being tried at the dialysis center.

Any input would be appreciated.



2 Replies
cs65NKF Ambassador

How much are you drinking per day? If you limit it to about 1 liter or so you shouldn't be having to take off too much fluid each time, which can lead to cramping. Also, are you diabetic? I heard a nurse speaking about how diabetics retain fluid in their tissues more than their bloodstream, which can make it harder to remove the fluid (which is only excess fluid in your bloodstream) by dialysis and also causes cramping of your muscles. One diabetic I know comes for an extra session (4 sessions per week) each week to try to lessen her cramping at the end of nearly every session. That same nurse actually put her down to minimum before she was at the point of cramping to make it easier for her at the end of her session. It sounds like your dialysis center is doing the right things to try to help you as far as adjusting dry weight and giving you supplements. Some ways we use here to relieve the cramps are to put you down to minimum, have you push against the nurse with your affected foot or sit up and push against the floor, wrap the affected area with a warm blanket, or give you some saline solution. Oh, and oxygen is used, too to help you take deep breaths and get more oxygen to your bloodstream and tissues. Good luck, I hope some of these tips work for you!

in reply to cs65

NKF, I try to restrict my fluid intake to 1 liter per day, though it's been a bit of a challenge with this heat. I'm not diabetic, though it does run in the family. The weird thing is that whether it's 2, 2.5 or 3 liters we need to remove, cramps always creep up that last hour. And with me not reaching dry weight for the last 3 weeks or so, I feel bloated like a balloon and tired after walking a short distance. Thank you for letting me vent a little and for your reply and sharing some tips. Hopefully we'll figure out a way to reduce the cramping, as otherwise, dialysis is becoming a nightmare...

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