Dialysis

As many of you have experienced, muscle cramps are a common complication during dialysis treatments. Cramps occur in 1/3 to 2/3 of all dialysis patients. Patients tend to experience cramps in the lower extremities, but they can occur in the

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What Are Causes of Dialysis Patients Who Always Have Cramps

2014-10-18 07:21

What Are Causes of Dialysis Patients Who Always Have CrampsAs many of you have experienced, muscle cramps are a common complication during dialysis treatments. Cramps occur in 1/3 to 2/3 of all dialysis patients. Patients tend to experience cramps in the lower extremities, but they can occur in the hands, arms and abdominal muscles as well.

What Are Causes of Dialysis Patients Who Always Have Cramps?

Although the exact cause is unknown, multiple causes have been proposed, including volume contraction (getting “too dry”), low blood sodium concentration, low body magnesium, and carnitine deficiency. Of these, the first two seem to be the most common. In terms of volume contraction, both getting below your “dry weight” (goal weight at the end of dialysis), as well as rapid removal of large volumes can result in cramps.

What works to prevent muscle cramps?

● Simply restrict your fluids. The more you take in, the more we have to take off to get to your dry weight. The more taken off, the more likely you will get cramps.

● Assure your proper dry weight: If your blood pressure is low, you have no edema, and you are cramping, you may need to have your dry weight increased. Your nurse and doctor will work with you to get to the proper dry weight.

● Higher dialyzate sodium concentration: If you are predisposed to cramps, this may help prevent them. Not everyone should be on a program, since make you more thirsty between dialyses, so you tend to drink more fluid and elevate high blood pressure.

● Carnitine deficiency: If you have lots of cramps, your doctor may wish to measure a carnitine level in your blood. If your level is low, you can be given carnitine pills, which may help to prevent cramps.

● Quinine sulfate: It is best if you take it 1-2 hours prior to dialysis. Like all medicines, it can on occasion have side effects, such as deafness, optic nerve problems, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

● Vitamin E: In one study of 29 patients, Vitamin E prevented cramps as well as quinine. There is some recent evidence, though, showing that Vitamin E may increase the chances of heart failure.

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