One of the key functions of the kidneys is to balance fluid in the body. But for dialysis patients, when they are going through treatment, their kidneys are no longer able to keep on the right balance of fluid in their body. They are unable to remove enough if their fluid intake goes beyond the recommended allowance. This can cause serious consequences on their health, such as difficulty breathing and swelling in different areas of their body.
The fluid control is different between haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients and we are going to explore the difference.
During a treatment session, the patient’s blood is removed from the body and filtered through a man-made membrane called a dialyzer, also known as an artificial kidney. The filtered blood is then returned to the body.
For patients who go over the recommended fluid allowance, swelling and increased blood pressure can be expected. Also, in this condition, it makes the heart work harder. All the fluid build-up in the lungs will also make it difficult to breathe.
The treatment, as it filters the blood through the dialysis machine, removes fluid. But there is a limit to how much fluid can be removed safely. If the patient exceeds their fluid allowance, an extra dialysis session may be required to remove all the extra fluid. Patients might experience a sudden drop in blood pressure, which usually happens towards the end of their dialysis treatment session.
People on peritoneal dialysis treatment may not be as limited with their fluids as people on haemodialysis treatment. This treatment is performed every day, unlike haemodialysis, which is only done several times a week. However, patients are still encouraged to keep track of their fluid intake and the amount of fluid removed in their dialysis exchanges.
This really depends on the patient and it differs for every individual patient based on their body size, medical condition, the treatment they are going through and how much urine they pass out. If their fluid control is not managed well, these are some factors they might see and go through:
Exercising may also change your fluid requirements as you are perspiring heavily. Consult your doctor and healthcare team so that they are well aware of your exercise routines and are able to advise you accordingly. Your dietitian can also coach you on how much fluid to drink.
These can help avoid drinking too much fluid between dialysis treatments:
Daily habits to create and follow: