What Are the Side Effects of the Kidney Dialysis Process?


Quick Answer

The side effects of the kidney dialysis process include insomnia, low blood pressure, muscle cramps, itching and overproduction of parathyroid hormone, says Mayo Clinic. Other side effects include depression, anemia and bone diseases.

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Insomnia and other sleep problems may occur because people on dialysis often suffer from sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic. A hemodialysis patient who is also diabetic may have low blood pressure because of a decrease in vascular tone and impairment of the way the left ventricle of the heart functions, according to PubMed. Abdominal and muscle cramps, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting might also accompany hypotension.

Hemodialysis patients often suffer muscle cramps, though the reason is not known, says Mayo Clinic. The condition is sometimes relieved by changing the hemodialysis prescription or by the patient monitoring her intake of fluids and salt before the procedure. Itching is also common right before or after a hemodialysis session.

A complication of kidney failure is an overproduction of parathyroid hormone. Too much parathyroid hormone can leach calcium from the patient's bones, which leads to the bones becoming weak, says Mayo Clinic. Depression is another sign of kidney failure, as is anemia. This is because the disease depresses the ability of the body to produce red blood cells. Hemodialysis also takes needed iron and other nutrients from the body.

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