Anxiety occurs in everyday life. It is the feeling of butterflies in the stomach or a pounding heart before a presentation or meeting someone new. Worrying and feeling anxious about family, school or work is a normal part of life.

Anxiety is also a natural response to danger when you feel threatened or under pressure.

Anxiety can also manifest as a mental health condition that can take on more severe forms, including panic attacks. Different kinds of anxiety may have specific triggers and symptoms.

Anxiety can manifest as emotional symptoms or physical symptoms. Common emotional symptoms include feelings of apprehension or dread, trouble concentrating, feeling tense and jumpy, and feeling irritable and restless. Common physical symptoms include pounding heart, sweating, shortness of breath, upset stomach, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.

Anxiety and Kidney Disease

Anxiety and other health problems are often linked. You may feel anxious because you have a health problem, and anxiety can make a health problem worse. For some, the anxiety issues may have begun well before the diagnosis and for others, the anxiety comes after. Anxiety is a common response to chronic illness, and symptoms of anxiety are often directly caused by health issues.

Kidney patients are often faced with new and challenging concerns about their health and treatment that can cause anxiety.

In addition to the stress of daily life, patients and families have to cope with additional anxiety-provoking issues, including pain or uncomfortable symptoms, managing dialysis treatment and care, adjusting to new limitations, financial pressures, and feelings of uncertainty, fear, and frustration. Patients and families may experience anxiety related to dialysis and its impact on daily life, particularly in terms of not being able to live life as normally as before dialysis with respect to work, diet and social activities. Patients and families may also feel anxiety related to fears about dying, feeling a lack of control over life and feeling like life will never be the same.

Similar to depression, feelings of anxiety usually decrease over time as patients and families become adjusted to their dialysis and kidney disease regimen. Sometimes, anxiety doesn’t just go away, and you may need to talk to your doctor or social worker about ways to decrease your anxiety symptoms. It may also help to speak to other patients and families who are going through similar experiences. Connecting with another patient can be a very strong support.

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