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People on Dialysis with Cramps and Shortness of Breath

I am on dialysis. Recently, I often have shortness of breath and cramps. They make me feel extremely bad. How can I manage them? Thanks

Cramps are seen in more 1/3 to 1/2 of all dialysis patients and mainly occur in their lower extremities. It is mainly due to the flowing causes.

1.Volume contraction

Dialysis can help to remove the extra fluids from body. However, if too much water is removed from body, it can cause volume contraction, thus resulting in cramps. Therefore, it is very important to keep dry body weight strictly.


Hyponatremia is also a cause of cramps in people on dialysis. As kidneys fail to remove extra fluids, the blood volume will increase. If the intake of sodium is still restricted, the sodium concentration in blood will reduce relatively.

Additionally, hyperlipidemia and malnutrition also take part in the occurrence of cramps.

Treatment of cramps for people on dialysis has two components: prevention and it from occurring, as well as treatment when they occur. The following preventive measures can reduce the incidence of cramps.

1. Minimize weight gains between dialysis

2. Assure your proper dry weight

3. Higher dialysate sodium concentration

4. If your cramps are associated with low carnitine level in blood, carnitine pills will be given.

5. Proper amount of vitamin E

As for shortness of breath, it may be due to the below causes.

* As kidneys fail to remove fluids adequately, a lot of fluids build up in body. In serious case, the blood vessels and lung will be flooded with fluids. It is a major cause of shortness of breath.

* Another cause of cramps in dialysis is increased potassium level in blood.

To prevent shortness of breath, limiting the intake of foods high in potassium and fluids can help.

Hope the above information can be helpful for you. If you want to get more detailed information about it, please email to kidneyabc@hotmail.com.

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