Dialysis Fatigue March National Kidney Month

I was so tired last night after dialysis I just sat and watched TV. After an hour after the Tylenol kicked in and i had eaten something, my brain kicked in again. I had a bad case of after dialysis fatigue.

What is dialysis fatigue? It is the headache and overly tired feeling that comes upon a dialysis patient during the last part of or immediately after dialysis. It is almost impossible to describe the way it feels, so I will use last night as an example.

I felt a headache and tiredness creep into my body the last half hour or so while I was on dialysis.. I asked for Tylenol to help prevent some of the pain I knew was coming. I was pretty quiet while I was taken off dialysis. I just wanted to go home. In the car I played on my cell phone or sat quietly. I was so happy to see our house, I almost cried walking up to the door. Usually I am hungry enough to eat a bear after a treatment of six hours., not last night. I did not really fell like eating. I was tired from my head to my feet. I was so tired I just wanted to sit and cry. It would have only made things worse, so I stopped that negative thought. I sat in my office at my desk, turned the TV on and stared blankly at it. I tried to write something, but my brain kept saying; “NO, too tired to do this now.” I played a few Facebook games, because that usually relax me. Even that did not work.. I finally had a little food to eat. I started feeling a little better and could write a little bit again. I crawled into bed to read for a little bit with the heating pad on my sore spots. I felt every aching spot in my body telling me all about its pain after I turned out the light to try to sleep. I just had to lie there and let the body find its favorite spot and position that will allow me to sleep.

This is how dialysis fatigue affected me on one night. Not every single night is this way after dialysis, this is a description of a particularity bad night.

This is one article about dialysis fatigue so it is not just an “in my own mind” effect. It gives pointers on how to recover quicker. It also says to recognize and validate the fatigue.

https://www.kidneynews.org/kidney-news/practice-pointers/postdialysis-fatigue

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582327/

A research study done on dialysis fatigue. It gives extra information on the effects of dialysis on the body related to fatigue symptoms.

What can be done to prevent or help dialysis fatigue symptoms? Common sense things.

Recognize when you have fatigue. Rest is recommended.

Review your medications with your doctor. Ask which ones can go into a nighttime routine.

Eat a well balanced diet. Pay attention to protein intake at each meal.

Exercise when you can.

Do things you enjoy. Have some fun.

Remember: Dialyze to Live, do not live to dialyze!

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