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CHAPTER 3






        HYPOTENSION (Low blood pressure)                Constantly becoming fluid overloaded
                ypotension means low blood           is not good for you, as it causes the blood
                pressure. This is related to the     pressure to rise and eventually damage
        Hspeed and amount of fluid                   the heart. If you think you are overloaded,
        removed from your blood. Giving you          contact the dialysis unit to organise extra
        some intravenous fluids can easily           dialysis to remove the fluid. If you are
        reverse this. Symptoms can vary. Tell the    breathless or unwell, do not delay in
        nurse if you experience dizziness,           contacting the dialysis unit.
        nausea, cramps in legs or any ‘funny
        feeling’. The best way to prevent this is    BLEEDING FROM YOUR ACCESS SITE
        for you to stick to the fluid restrictions      After dialysis, the needles will be
        that are set for you so that you avoid       removed from your fistula or graft. Your
        gaining too much fluid/weight between        nurse will take every care to ensure that
        dialysis sessions.                           bleeding has stopped before you leave           COMPLICATIONS OF HAEMODIALYSIS
                                                     the unit. If you should develop further
        FLUID OVERLOAD                               bleeding, from your access site, apply a
           Between sessions, patients can some       dry dressing to the site, apply gentle
        times develop a condition called fluid       pressure to the area, and return to the
        overload. This is due to excess fluid        unit immediately. If possible, call the
        building up in your body. Fluid overload     unit to let them know.
        can be mild and manifest itself as swollen
        ankles, or high blood pressure, or severe    INFECTION
        breathlessness.                                 See information in Chapter 6, Book 1.





                                                                        HIGH POTASSIUM
                                                                        In medical terms,
                                                                        this is known as
                                                                        hyperkalaemia.
                                                                        This means that there
                                                                        is too much potassium
                                                                        in the blood. This can
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                                                                        be dangerous and
                                                                        life-threatening.
                                                                        High potassium can affect the
                                                                        muscles of the body including the
                                                                        heart, which could stop beating.
                                                                           By sticking to the diet, that the
                                                                        dietician has prescribed for you, you
                    We’re a little concerned                            can avoid this serious complication.

                  about your potassium levels                              (See section on diet).






        P.10 Haemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis – A Guide for Patients
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