What Are The Risks of Hemodialysis? Treating & Preserving Your Kidneys
What are the risks of hemodialysis? Hemodialysis is a medical treatment that filters waste products and excess fluid from the blood of people whose kidneys are no longer functioning properly. While hemodialysis can be life-saving for people with end-stage kidney disease, it does come with certain risks. Some of the risks associated with hemodialysis include:

  1. Infection: Hemodialysis access points, such as a fistula or catheter, can become infected.

  2. Hemorrhage: Hemodialysis can cause low blood pressure and bleeding from the access point.

  3. Blood clots: Blood clots can form in the access point or in the blood vessels leading to the access point.

  4. Hypotension: Low blood pressure can occur during or after hemodialysis, causing dizziness, fatigue, and fainting.

  5. Anemia: Hemodialysis can cause anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body's tissues.
  6. Bone disease: Hemodialysis can cause bone disease, a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle.

  7. Itchiness: Many people experience itchiness during hemodialysis, caused by the accumulation of waste products in the blood.

  8. Muscle cramps: Muscle cramps are a common side effect of hemodialysis.

  9. Headache: Some people may experience headaches during or after hemodialysis.

  10. Fatigue: Fatigue is a common side effect of hemodialysis, caused by the stress of the treatment on the body.

What are the benefits of going on Hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that uses a machine to filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. The benefits of hemodialysis include:

  • Removing waste and excess fluid from the body: Hemodialysis can help to lower the levels of waste products, such as urea and creatinine, in the blood. This can help to improve symptoms of kidney failure, such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

  • Maintaining electrolyte balance: Hemodialysis can help to balance the levels of electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, in the blood. This can help to prevent complications, such as heart arrhythmias.

  • Controlling blood pressure: Hemodialysis can help to lower high blood pressure.

  • Improving overall quality of life: Hemodialysis can help to improve the overall well-being and quality of life for people with kidney failure.
It's important to note that Hemodialysis treatment is usually done in a hospital or dialysis center and a person needs to go three times a week for about 3-4 hours at a time.

What Foods Can You Eat While On Hemodialysis?

When you are on hemodialysis, it is important to pay attention to your diet, as certain foods may affect your treatment or your health. Some general guidelines for what to eat while on hemodialysis include:

  • Limit the amount of protein you eat: A diet that is low in protein can help to reduce the workload on your kidneys and slow down the progression of kidney disease. It is recommended to consume 0.6 to 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

  • Limit the amount of potassium, phosphorus and sodium you eat: High levels of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium in the blood can be dangerous for people on hemodialysis. It is important to avoid foods that are high in these minerals, such as bananas, potatoes, nuts, and processed foods.

  • Limit the amount of fluids you drink: People on hemodialysis should limit the amount of fluids they drink, as the treatment can only remove a limited amount of fluid from the body.

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains: These foods are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can help to provide essential nutrients for your body.

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking: Alcohol and smoking can increase the risk of complications and negatively impact your health.
Please be sure to work with a renal dietitian who can help you to create a personalized meal plan that meets your specific nutritional needs and restrictions.