Originally Posted by AnalisaParalyzer
They said I had about 35% of my healthy kidneys left. They said right now, they don't think I'll need to start dialysis, but I need to stick to my new diet and pay close attention to how I feel, and what makes me feel worse.
Its is kinda scary, but the nausea is the worst part. It seems like everything makes me want to puke. And I'm trying to understand what the guy was saying about watching my fluid intake? And I know I should have asked the doctor, but my brain was so everywhere, but how exactly does dialysis work? I get the general gist, clean the blood cause my faulty parts can't, but how? Sorry if these are stupid questions, I kinda panic around doctors and hospitals and flight always wins over fight.
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Again, I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this. Many people don't even realize how much they need their kidneys until they start to fail.
There is SOOOO much information for you to know and understand. And it takes months to sink in. So I recommend keeping a journal or notepad that you can write any questions in/your thoughts so you can voice your concerns with your doctor.
I'm going to try and sum this up as best as I can. I'm sorry if I tend to jump around a lot but there's so much information to write down for you. And that's just basics. Not even going into very much detail. Maybe having it written down for you so you can re-read it as needed will ease your mind.
I want to reiterate that CKD is not a death sentence. You do NOT have to stop living your life just because your kidneys are failing. Okay? Please don't think that. I know some days it'll be hard to get out of bed. Some days it's hard to think straight. Some days it's hard to force yourself to eat. It'll be even harder to force yourself to exercise. But please don't give up.
First, Follow what your doctor says. Not listening to him/her because you think that you know best, or you don't trust his judgement will not do you any good in the long run. Voice your concerns to him/her so you can here WHY he's telling you not to eat something, or why he's telling you that you need to do this etc.
Okay, let's start with some basic information. What do your kidneys do? Have you ever stopped to think about it? I certainly didn't until I started working in a hemodialysis unit.
- Removal of waste (Urea, Creatinine, Uric Acid, BUN)
- Regulation of fluid balance and electrolytes.
- Release of certain hormones
Why do kidneys fail?
- Diabetes and High Blood Pressure are the 2 main causes.
- Injury to kidney
- Birth Defects
- Inherited Kidney Diseases
- Drugs, Antibiotics, OTC Painkillers, High amounts of soda.
You mentioned that you didn't understand what watching your fluid intake meant. Let me see if I can clarify that for you. If you remember that I said the kidneys regulate your fluid balance. That means when you drink water, you urinate it out. The kidneys conserve or excrete fluid as needed. If you are dehydrated, there is a hormore that is released that tells your body to keep water in your body. If you have an excess amount of fluid, the kidney releases a hormore that tells your body that you need to get rid of fluid. Now in normal, healthy people, that means urination. But, people with Acute or Chronic kidney disease, either cannot go to the bathroom enough, or...they cannot go to the bathroom at all. They don't feel the urge to go and therefore, don't. Which is where you get excessive fluid. The more you drink, and even eat, the more fluid that you have to get rid of. If you can't get rid of it...Where does it go? Well, it doesn't go anywhere. It stays in the body, which is when you get lots of swelling. Hands, ankles, feed, legs, neck, face etc. Anywhere that fluid can go, it will.
Which is why it's important if you doctor gave you a fluid restriction that you follow it. Everything you eat and drink should be taken into consideration. Watery fruits, veggies, water, pop, juice etc are all included. I know some patients that can only have 12 ounces of fluid per day. Others can have much more. It all depends on the individual person. But...If you are having swelling, your taking in more fluids than your body can remove. Normal urine output is approximately 2 liters per day. That's after 98%-99% of fluid being reabsorbed, which is a function of the kidneys. If you kidneys do not work...do the math. Add that 98%-99% to the 2 liters a day and think of how much fluid is on your body.
That's also why it's important to minimize your salt intake. Salt retains water, and it makes you thirsty. 2 things that a CKD patient does NOT want.
Patients that have CKD will gain 1.5kg-2kg per day between hemodialysis treatments. 1kg is equal to 2.2 pounds. So many patients gain 4.4 POUNDS of fluid EVERY day. 8.8 pounds every 2 days. During dialysis I take anywhere between 4 pounds and 20 pounds off of a patient every single treatment. That can be 60 pounds of fluid in just 1 week. Crazy!
Also, when you can't go to bathroom, your body cannot regulate the electrolyte balance in the body. It basically will end up poisoning your body if you cannot get rid of the fluid. You'll have high amounts of potassium, which can cause cardiac arrest. High sodium, high Urea, etc. It's continues to build up and up and up because there is no way out.
Since you still have 35% kidney function, you are able to get rid of a lot of those potentially bad things. But when the kidneys continue to fail, people will have to go on dialysis to clean out the toxins so you can live a healthy life.
You mention you feel sick a lot. That is due to the buildup of the BUN, creatinine, potassium and other things I've previously brought up. It can often lead to you not feeling well all the time, having a cloudy head...not thinking straight, memory problems, physical problems etc.
Finally, I will explain a little bit about the dialyzer machine.
The dialyzer is basically a big, fake kidney. We usually will hook up 2 needles into the patient. One needle to pull blood out of the body, and then one needle to return the blood to the patient. It's a big cycle and it's actually very cool to watch. The blood is pushed through the fake kidney and it cleans the blood by taking out the bad stuff. It's like a strainer...The BUN, Creatinine, Potassium, etc is caught in the strainer because they are too big to go through the holes. While the blood is smaller and is able to go through the holes and back to the body. And then we return that clean blood to the patient. You can google more information if you'd like. I just gave you the jist of how it works in a very basic description. It's easiest to understand that way.
Most patients are on the machines for 4 hours every other day. (3 treatments per week) So Monday, Wednesday, Friday or...Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Some people stay longer, some have shorter treatments.
These are NOT stupid questions what-so-ever. Please feel free to keep questions coming. Knowledge is power when it comes to your health.