Did you know chronic kidney disease affects 10% of the worldwide population?
When you have kidney failure, or even just one failing kidney, it is important to undergo dialysis treatments. Otherwise, your cells can be damaged and you’ll need a transplant.
Dialysis is a process that is carried out regularly to make sure your body can get rid of all waste products. But this process can leave you feeling fatigued, dizzy, and unwell.
One of the more unpleasant experiences that people may experience during a dialysis treatment is muscle cramps.
With each dialysis session, there is a significant reduction in the strength of your muscles, particularly leg and thigh muscles. This is one of many reasons that can lead to muscle cramps, which are painful and can be very difficult for you to bear.
This article will give a few tips to prevent muscle cramps after treatment.
Warm Up Before Starting Your Treatment
Exercise is an important part of treatment for dialysis, as it helps your body to produce and use more oxygen. This speeds up the removal of waste products from your blood and improves overall health. It’s also thought that exercise may help prevent cramps during treatment by improving muscle function.
Use a Massage Ball or Foam Roller
Using a massage ball or foam roller before bedtime may also help relieve muscle stiffness and soreness associated with kidney disease. This is because these tools break down scar tissue, which can build up in people with kidney disease over time and cause pain.
A foam roller is especially helpful for breaking down scar tissue in the lower back, thighs, and calves. This is because it provides deep pressure that’s difficult to achieve with just basic stretching techniques alone.
Eat Foods Rich in Potassium Every Day
It’s also important to make sure that you eat before each treatment session. This is so that your body has enough nutrients to function properly during dialysis. Eating foods rich in electrolytes, such as potassium, can help prevent dehydration and reduce the risk of developing muscle cramps during treatment sessions.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Drink plenty of fluids each day. This prevents dehydration from occurring as well as helps flush harmful toxins out of your system faster. This is also so the toxins don’t accumulate inside your body, causing problems like dialysis leg cramps during treatments or after treatment.
Stretch Your Legs During Your Treatment
Ask for help from the nurse or technician to stretch your legs and ankles while you’re lying down on the machine. They will also be able to tell you how far to stretch each leg and foot. You don’t want to hurt yourself or pull something in your back or neck by doing this at home after dialysis treatments.
Try Breathing Deeply
Deep breaths can help relax the muscles in your body. Simply take slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm, the large muscle under your lungs.
To do this, place one hand on your chest and another hand at the base of your abdomen. As you inhale through your nose and expand your rib cage and abdomen, feel the air pushing up against your hands. This is an example of diaphragmatic breathing.
Take Some Potassium
Cramps after dialysis may also occur due to low potassium levels in your body. Potassium helps nerve cells send messages through the nervous system and controls muscle contractions. It also helps maintain fluid levels in your body by balancing sodium levels in cells and tissues.
Increase Protein Intake
A high-protein diet can help maintain muscle mass and strength in people with kidney disease who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant. Ask your doctor if you should add more protein to your diet through foods like meat, fish, soy products, beans, and nuts or supplements.
Limit Sodium Intake
Sodium, or salt, is a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. A high-sodium diet can cause your kidneys to work harder and may lead to muscle cramping.
Limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. That’s the amount of sodium in just 1 teaspoon of table salt. If you have chronic kidney disease, talk with your doctor about how much sodium is safe for you to eat and drink each day.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause dehydration because it affects how much urine you produce. This can lead to muscle cramps caused by a lack of hydration, especially in hot weather or during exercise when you sweat more than usual. Try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night so that you’re well rested when you have dialysis treatments in the morning.
Avoid Certain Medications
Certain medications can make you more prone to muscle cramps, such as statins or blood pressure medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. If you’re taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor about whether they might cause or worsen muscle cramps.
If you need a kidney doctor, visit the Nephrologist at The Kidney Institute.
Take a Daily Multivitamin
A daily multivitamin may help prevent deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals that can lead to muscle cramps. Talk to your doctor about which vitamins are best for you and whether taking a multivitamin is right for you.
Follow These Tips for Easier Dialysis Treatments
Ultimately, the pain in cramping feet and fingers isn’t always preventable.
However, you can attempt to keep your muscles relaxed and wear shoes that don’t constrict your feet. Also, try to get as much exercise as possible, both before and after your treatment.
If you experience sudden muscle cramps after dialysis treatments, remember to try stretching while sitting down. And if all else fails, give it some time, your circulation should return to normal within a few hours.
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