Patients can experience a wide range of symptoms leading up to dialysis and during the first few dialysis treatments. Some of these symptoms can include:

  • Feeling tired, weak, and low in energy
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bad, metallic taste in mouth that won’t go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itching skin
  • Swelling or puffiness around the eyes, face, hands, legs or ankles
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty urinating; frequent urination throughout the night

Patients who are just starting dialysis often feel nervous about their new experience – they might be nervous about being in the hospital, having to deal with nurses and doctors, having to depend on a dialysis machine to stay healthy and survive, and the pain associated with the dialysis needles.

These fears are common and normal.

But it is important to remember that your healthcare team is there to help you feel better, and dialysis will help you feel healthier – it is a scary experience at first, but it does get better over time. You can speak with a social worker for help adjusting to dialysis, and it may help you to speak with other patients who are on dialysis so you can share experiences and relate to someone who understands what you are going through.

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