10 Things You Should Know Before Missing Dialysis

As you prepare for dialysis, it is important for you to realize healthy kidneys work 24 hours a day to keep waste and fluid from building up in your body. That is 168 hours a week. If your kidneys fail and you choose hemodialysis, most patients dialyze about 12 hours a week. Dialysis is very effective but does not replace your kidneys. Most dialysis specialists think that longer hemodialysis treatments are better than shorter treatments.

When you shorten your treatments, the damage that is done to your body may not make you feel bad that day. Over time the damage to your heart, brain and other vital organs slowly builds and may be much harder to treat.

Missing treatment can often cause:

Anemia:

Anemia means too little iron in the body. Iron is important in many ways. It is a mineral needed for overall good health and healthy blood cells. Iron helps your body make hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. When there is not enough iron, red blood cells won’t have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen.

Fatigue:

Fatigue has a considerable effect on patients’ health-related quality of life and is viewed as being more important than survival by some patients.

Fatigue and depression are closely interrelated and depression may manifest as feelings of tiredness and lack of energy. Depression has also been shown to correlate strongly with overall symptom burden and severity. You always feel weak and lack of strength to do your daily activities.

Poor appetite and low albumin

  • You experience poor appetite and it also results in nausea and vomiting.
  • Poor appetite often leads to low albumin. Albumin is a complex protein made from the foods you eat each day. A low level of albumin may lead to health problems such as difficulty fighting off infections.

Heart problems

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat if potassium is too high in your blood
  • Fluid overload can result in Congestive Heart Failure
  • Heart attacks

Bone disease

  • Missed treatments can mean missing IV Vitamin D which can lead to a high PTH
  • Missing treatment time means less phosphorus removed which can result in bone pain, fractures, calcification, red eyes and itching

Itching

Itching is due to high phosphorus. When too much phosphorus builds up in the blood without being removed then this causes itching skin easily.

High Potassium

Patients may have acute, and severely high potassium levels (hyperkalemia) without symptoms! Elevated potassium levels lead to ventricular fibrillation, a disturbance in the heart beat that can cause the heart to stop (cardiac arrest).

The best way to prevent hyperkalemia is to never miss a dialysis treatment, and to never cut the time short. Missing dialysis can put a patient at the risk of sudden death. Severe muscle cramps.

High blood pressure

  • Causes the heart to work harder leading to blood vessel and organ damage
  • Risk of stroke with high blood pressure
  • Increases the risk of having a large drop in blood pressure during dialysis

Fluid overload

  • Fluid builds up in your body when you miss treatment time
  • Leads to shortness of breath, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure

Stroke

This is a medical emergency and requires hospitalization as you experience symptoms like:

  • Difficulty talking or understanding words
  • Loss of feeling or strange feelings on one side
  • Weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side
  • Severe unexplainable headache
  • Sudden decreased or blurred vision
  • Unexplained dizziness or loss of balance

Death

Without dialysis, toxins build up in the blood, causing a condition called uremia. The patient will receive whatever medicines are necessary to manage symptoms of uremia and other medical conditions. Depending on how quickly the toxins build up, death usually follows anywhere from few days to several weeks.

When the treatment is skipped or shortened, your next dialysis treatments require attempts to remove those extra fluids potassium and toxins in the blood. This causes dizziness, cramping, vomiting, and drop in blood pressure.

To avoid all this, you should consider full dialysis treatment on time which improves your quality of life. Talk to your nephrologist about your symptoms or reach out to a DaVita teammate at 080 60006200 for an appointment.