Fluids and Your Heart- Dialysis Patients

For those of who know a dialysis patient or are one yourself, has anyone told you there is a vital link between Fluids and your Heart? It is a vitally important topic. I thought I would share some information with you on this topic.

Today’s topic- Fluids.

Fluids are the bane of a dialysis patient’s life.  Too much fluid leads to overload.  Too little and you feel like you live in the desert all the time. This can cause shortness of breath and swelling of the ankles. I, personally, get swelling across the top of my belly when I am fluid overloaded.

Overload can create an increase in blood pressure.  Extra fluid will pool around the heart, so the heart will suffer ventricular hypertrophy- a stiff and thick heart that will not pump correctly.  This can cause your blood pressure to be too low or too high.  Too much fluid can also cause congestive heart failure. As much as I hate to scare you, Fluid Overload can lead to Death.

The Fluid Laments (Actual Things I Have Heard from Dialysis Patients.

“But I am thirsty all the time!

People drink in front of me all the time.

Why am I always heavy when I come into dialysis?

How do I drink only 32 ounces a day? That’s impossible!

I don’t care. I’ll drink when I want to and what I want to! It’s my life and my decision.

But when I go out, I have to have a drink!

Does beer count toward my fluid?”

The dialysis nurse tells patients all the time: “32 ounces a day, that’s it!  Keep your fluids in control. You can do it. I know it is not easy.”

Here are some tips to follow:

Ice, Ice, Baby!  Put it in a cup and let it melt. Drink the melt, chew on the ice.  Stay cool.

Sprays- there are sprays to buy that will help keep your mouth from getting dry.

Suck on hard candies, chew gum; lemon drops really make your mouth pucker and increase the feeling of fluid in your mouth.

Three small water bottles are your fluid allotment for the day.  Fill them, freeze them, use them to drink from them throughout your day.

Food has water in it also. Fruits are the worst for having fluids, especially watermelon.

 Soup is a fluid. Coffee is a fluid. Soft drink is fluid.  Juice is fluid

If it is a liquid and goes into a cup or a  bowl it has fluid.

Salt, otherwise known as Sodium, affects fluid retention.

Too much sodium and you will retain water.

Put the salt shaker away in a cupboard. Forget it’s there. 

Substitute other spices instead of dumping salt in things.

Buy salt free canned fruits and vegetables.   

Read labels.  This is the most important things about a Dialysis Life. 

Read the labels on everything!  Salt is added to everything these days.

You are in charge of your fluid intake.   YOU! ARE! IN! CHARGE!  Not your wife, grilfriend or mother, YOU!  Look in the mirror in each morning and ask yourself: “Who is in charge?  Answer: “I am in charge.”

So get out here.  Help your heart and watch your fluid intake.   

Remember: It’s Dialyze to Live, not live to Dialyze!  Get out there and do something fun!