Dialysis offers a better quality of life and extends the survival, but dialysis patients often experience multiple health problems, which can have an undesirable impact on the life expectancy.
What are the factors affecting life expectancy?
The prognosis for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients depends on many factors. Although dialysis can be lifesaving, there are individuals who live ahead of the expected life expectancy; diagnosis could be poor due to the related illnesses. Although choosing dialysis leads to extended survival, when evaluated to people choosing for conservative management, below factors affects the life expectancy:
- Functional status
- Co-existing medical conditions
The life expectancy is affected by the condition of the patient at the time of beginning dialysis. Many studies have shown that the elderly ESRD patients of age 65 years or above have low survival rates. The median life expectancy declines with age.
Co-existing medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding, lung disease, congestive heart failure or stroke can have adverse effects on the dialysis patients leading to low life expectancy.
Kidney Dialysis and Quality of Life
Dialysis is a very complicated procedure which needs all the guidelines and proper treatment has to be considered. Hence, the decision to go for dialysis is tough one. Hemodialysis is done three times a week, each session lasting for four hours. Once the dialysis is completed, the patients become exhausted. It is very important to follow the dietary restrictions, and the amount of fluid intake to be restricted.
Peritoneal dialysis has less restriction on the diet and fluid intake, but it has to be performed on a daily basis. There is also a risk of peritonitis. In general, dialysis is associated with symptoms such as:
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- Infections at the access point
- Bleeding from the access point
- Low blood pressure
Here are few tips to extend your kidney dialysis life expectancy:
- Diet: Be aware of how much protein, phosphorus, potassium and sodium should be consumed as per your kidney function. Talk to your dietician.
- Nutrition: These are key nutrients required for dialysis patients:
- CoQ10 to improve cardiovascular function
- Iron to treat anemia
- Multivitamin and mineral supplements to improve the hemoglobin levels
- Magnesium to reduce muscle pain, headaches, cramps and to balance blood sugar levels.
- Exercise: Keep moving! Exercise is very important even though you are in dialysis. Walking for 30 minutes daily can help you to lead a good quality of life.
- Dialysis: Never miss your dialysis schedule. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and be on time.