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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Challenges faced by dialysis patients

Our kidneys perform the essential task of removing excess water from the body alongside filtering our waste material, salt etc. from the body. They are the key players in urine formation.

If the kidneys are unable to perform this essential task, then the entire body suffers. Kidney failure can lead to initial symptoms that include skin itching, fatigue, digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea, cramps, edema, disorientation etc.

Based on these symptoms, your Nephrologist in Karachi might then run tests to see if your kidneys are working fine. If there are any lapses in their functionality, they might then decide to put you on dialysis.

What is dialysis?

The purpose of dialysis is to filter the blood, essentially performing the task that your kidneys are supposed to do.

In hemodialysis, the patient is hooked to the machine through which the blood is run, and it gets purified as a result. The frequency of this treatment will vary as per your condition and doctor’s assessment.

Another type of dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, employs a different approach. In it, the cleansing fluid is placed inside the body via a catheter. The abdominal cavity acts as a filter then, allowing the waste products to move into this solution, which then flows out of the body and is discarded.

While the former needs one to be in a hospital or similar facility, the latter can be done by oneself, in the vicinity of their own space. However, the peritoneal dialysis can only be performed in some cases.

The challenges faced by dialysis patients

Notwithstanding the obvious challenge faced to the health by the patients on account of having kidney functionality issues, there are other potential risks and challenges they end up facing, which include:

Bone problems

Hemodialysis can cause there to be too much calcium to be removed by the body, which naturally makes them weak, susceptible to breaking and ache.


Cramped muscles are a great source of discomfort. The cramps can often also morph into pain as well. Patients who get dialysis might also then have to deal with muscle cramps.


Another challenge that the patients getting dialysis face is depression. Not only is the disease and the dependence on the machine form a great source of mental turmoil to the people, but otherwise as well, the changes in mood that occur with the constant pain also cause mental stress as well.

Itchy skin

Dialysis can cause the skin to become itchy, especially just after getting the procedure.


For patients getting peritoneal dialysis, there is a risk of infection due to the use of catheter.


While not applicable to hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis involves holding the fluid in for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of hernia.


Commonly known as low blood pressure, this state occurs when blood does not get pumped with sufficient force. Low blood pressure can make one feel lethargic or fatigued. Other side-effects of hypotension include vomiting, shortness of breath, cramps especially in the abdomen, nausea etc.

Hypotension in itself of is a great source of discomfort to the patient, but the symptoms also may make the patient feel even worse.

Sleep issues

We all need sufficient sleep and rest for to function properly. Lack of sleep in the short-term can lead to grogginess, mood problems, discomfort, slowed reflexes etc. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can cause chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease, depression, obesity etc.

Patients who get dialysis are at higher risk of running into sleep issues. They might have trouble sleeping altogether, or they might get problems like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome that makes it difficult for them to sleep.

Access site complications

Hemodialysis poses the challenge of infection, wound, aneurysm, blockage at the access site. The complications need to be reported to the Nephrologist in Rawalpindi, as unchecked, they are great source of concern.

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