Fluid management while staying at home

One of the biggest challenges for dialysis patients is the management of fluids.

However, the importance of this management is maximized during quarantine, as prolonged stay at home can lead the dialysis patient to further fluid intake and overeating.

The feeling of confinement in the house therefore insecurity due to the coronavirus, the mood swings and the comorbidity , often cause behavioral reactions such as:

  • The over- consumption of fluids
  • Intense anger reactions
  • Irritation
  • Emotional overeating
  • Refusal to comply with medical instructions
  • Avoidance behavior
  • Hypertension in interpersonal relationships

How could a dialysis patient manage the over-consumption of fluids and the emotional overeating?

  • In the morning fill a jar or a bottle of water and drink only from it. In this way, you know how much water you drink every day.
  • Stick to your refrigerator door a paper where you write each time the amount of water you consume.
  • Always drink water with a small glass.
  • Avoid high-sodium foods, since this will reduce your thirst.
  • In between meals, eat fruits and frozen food (as allowed).
  • When you are thirsty and would like to drink water, moisten your mouth with slices of lemon.
  • Take your medicine during your meals, not separately.
  • Try to keep yourself as much as active and energetic as possible.
  • Set as a target to gain only half a kilo per day.
  • Rinse your mouth with water but remember in the end to throw it away and not swallow it.
  • Eat mastic, mint or chewconfectionery, which relieve you from thirst.
  • Put a plastic with wateron the radiator in winter so that it produces water vapor that will moisten the room you are sitting in, as to help you dry your mouth.
  • Stay away from places that you think will make you drink large quantities of liquids (eg kitchen, bath).
  • Similarly, we never eat standing up, because we are actually overeating and the feeling of hunger is not satisfied or there is no feeling of satiety in our brain.
  • We remind ourselves that juices, fruits, coffee or infusions, belong to the category of liquids. Honestly recording the fluids one consumes works proactively.
  • We use a scale once a day, at a preset time, so we can control our weight during the days when we do not do dialysis.
  • We try to read, talk to friends, communicate, control the hours we watch TV, because our stress-related psychological transitions can cause us to over- consume food and fluids.
  • The management of food that stimulates the feeling of thirst also works in support of the dialysis patient’s effort.
  • We check our body for physical symptoms, which may be related to over- consumption of fluids or foods containing potassium and we are in contact with the medical staff.
  • Keeping a diary of fluids and food always helps , especially if you have recently started dialysis and feel insecure.

By the Scientific Director Kalliopi Retsa