Hi: I've been on dialysis for more than six months now and still am extremely tired. I have not returned to work and don't see that being possible in the foreseeable future. Is this common?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Michael Williams,
Hi George. Couple questions for you. Are you tired all the time or just on dialysis days? It is quite common for patients to feel "wiped out" on dialysis days, but they feel better on their off days.
Remember that dialysis as a treatment for ESRD is only doing a fraction of what your kidneys used to do 24/7. As a result, your body goes through what I call the yo-yo effect; swings between high and low levels of electrolytes(salts), blood sugar, fluid(water), and blood pressure. You also lose a little blood everytime you get dialysis, some of which is combatted with the use of the drug EPOGEN or PROCRIT, which boost your body's ability to make more red blood cells. This means that dialysis patients are chronically anemic, even just a little. Anemia means there are fewer red blood cells in you body to carry oxygen and carbon dioxide to your cells, and this can lead to a feeling of fatigue.
Furthermore, various metabolic changes seem to occur to patients on dialysis, most of which aren't completely understood. One effect I've seen in some patients is a decrease in the levels of Carnitine in their bodies. Carnitine is produced and used by the body in your skeletal muscle tissue. Some clinics will give a drug supplement(Carnitor), which is aka levocarnitine, to help combat some of the chronic fatigue symptoms.
One last point; I'm sure you've heard from the dietician about the importance of getting enough protein. Protein defficiency leads to many health complications, as the amino acids in proteins are the building blocks your body needs to make a multitude of substances, like hormones, enzymes, cells, etc.
I hope this info will help and I wish you the best of health and happiness.
Thanks for response. I do take Epogen, but tired ALL the time. I watch my diet carefully and add lots of protein. I see so many other people returning to work while on dialysis, but can't imagine doing it now. I have discussed with neph, but they don't seem too surprised. Could there be other things affecting me?
How has your blood pressure been since starting dialysis? Often a drop in blood pressure after years of hypertension can result in a "tired" feeling. However, this usually subsides after the body has had time to get accustomed to the new lower blood pressure, generally only a few weeks.
My husband had the same complaints when he started pd. Turned out he needed a 5 way bypass. We kept asking the nephrologist could it be his heart and he didn't think so. ^ months later he had a heart attack and bypass surgery.