Fluids

Restricting fluid is probably the toughest part about dialysis for most people.

Let us try to understand the reason behind fluid restrictions. The kidneys remove excess fluid from the body. So, when the kidneys are not functioning adequately, the excess fluid builds up in the body. This can cause the excess water to go into the cells of the body. This causes edema (or swelling of the feet and hands) and it can also cause breathlessness because the excess fluid gets into the tissues of the lungs. This excess fluid can only be removed by dialysis.

The amount of fluid that can be removed during dialysis is limited. Removing more than roughly 400 ml of fluid per hour from the blood during dialysis can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms such as cramping, low Blood Pressure etc. To avoid this, we must not remove too much fluid during dialysis. It is therefore important to restrict the quantity of fluid consumed between dialysis sessions.

Try the following tips to reduce your fluid intake:

– The idea is to not think about fluids. Stay busy. Work, full time if possible. If you’re not working, take up a hobby. Watch a movie. When the mind is not thinking about fluids, half the battle is won.

– Never gulp down fluid. Always sip it. Relish every sip.

– Drink fluids other than water. It is easy to have a large amount of water. It is less easy to have the same amount of fresh lime juice, for example.

– Have very cold or hot fluids. This again helps in reducing the amount consumed because you cannot gulp down a large amount quickly. You can only sip it.

– Reduce the amount of salt. More salt = more thirst.