Dialysis can be a life-saving technique for the individual whose kidneys are unable
to remove toxic waste and excess water from the blood. But over time, the process
can become both physically debilitating and psychologically difficult. To address these
issues, kidney specialist Dr. Rich Snyder has written a complete guide to dialysis.
This book not only provides answers to common questions about the process, but
also offers practical advice and strategies, as well as complementary options that
can help you deal successfully with the many aspects of your treatment plan.
The book begins with an introduction to dialysis—what it is, how it works, and what
types are available. It then goes on to discuss the importance of blood tests, common
medications and their complications, and associated disorders. Crucial information is
included on natural supplements, lifestyle changes, nutrition, and effective coping
tactics. For most people, dialysis is an unplanned and uncharted journey. In this book,
Dr. Snyder lights the path ahead by combining compassion with rock-solid information
that can make a real difference in your health.
Rich Snyder, DO, holds a medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Snyder completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Abington Memorial Hospital and his Nephrology Fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Nephrology.
Dr. Snyder is a contributing member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Internists, the Renal Physicians Association, and several other medical organizations. He is also the author or co-author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the best-selling author of What You Must Know About Kidney Disease. In addition to being a popular speaker, Dr. Snyder has appeared on numerous radio and televisions shows throughout North America. Currently, Dr. Snyder maintains a full-time clinical nephrology practice in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Part One. Understanding the Fundamentals of Dialysis
1. When Is Dialysis Needed?
2. What Are Your Dialysis Options?
3. The Importance of the Dialysis Access
4. Reviewing Your Monthly Blood Work
5. Understanding Your Dialysis-Related Medications
Part Two. Taking Action
6. Controlling Fluid Balance and Blood Pressure
7. Taking Other Medications on Dialysis
8. Using Nutritional Supplements on Dialysis
9. Eating Right on Dialysis
10. Keeping Your Mind, Body, and Spirit in the Game
11. Understanding Transplantation
12. Ten Ways to Improve Your Dialysis Sessions
Dialysis—the use of an artificial filter to clean and purify the blood—can be a lifesaving technique for the individual whose kidneys are unable to remove toxic waste and excess water from the blood. But if you don’t know much about this treatment, dialysis can also seem more than a little scary and overwhelming. What exactly happens during dialysis? How are you likely to feel during and after treatment? And how will these treatments affect your health and your everyday life?
This book was designed to take the fear and uncertainty out of dialysis by explaining—clearly and simply—all the fundamentals of this medical procedure. But What You Must Know About Dialysis is far more than a guide to treatments. I firmly believe that to have the best possible experience and enjoy the best health, you have to take an active role in your own care. That’s why, throughout these pages, I emphasize the choices you can make to improve your treatments, your overall well-being, and your day-to-day life. I look not only at your options regarding the dialysis process, but also at how you can enhance your health through good dietary choices, nutritional supplements, and exercise. My approach is holistic, which means that in addition to considering physical health, I also examine emotional, spiritual, and social well-being, all of which can have a profound impact on your physical condition.
What You Must Know About Dialysis is divided into two Parts. Part One, entitled “Understanding the Fundamentals of Dialysis,” was written to answer all of your questions about dialysis and associated treatments and therapies. You will start by learning about the basic functions performed by healthy kidneys, and then explore the conditions under which dialysis becomes necessary. Other chapters explain your dialysis options, including home and in-center treatments; tell you everything you need to know about the different types of dialysis access, including how you can best care for and protect this “lifeline”; detail your monthly blood work; and introduce you to the medications your physician may prescribe to address dialysis-related issues such as anemia or weak bones. Throughout, I strive to give you the facts you need to be an active participant in your treatments.
Entitled “Taking Action,” Part Two provides a wealth of information on the many ways in which you can improve your dialysis sessions and your overall health. This section of the book begins by focusing on two issues that are of great importance to every dialysis patient—fluid balance and blood pressure. By taking steps to control these factors, you will find that you feel better both during and between treatments. Other topics include how you can best take those medications that are not related to dialysis; how you and your doctor can choose nutritional supplements that can enhance your energy, combat inflammation, strengthen your bones, and support heart function; and how you can put together a healthy dialysis diet. In Part Two, you will also learn how you can improve your health by strengthening your body, mind, and spirit. Finally, you will discover the fundamentals of kidney transplants, the gold standard of kidney treatments, and you will explore the top ten “secrets” to improving your dialysis sessions.
While I have tried to make every discussion in this book as clear and easy-to-follow as possible, dialysis is a complicated subject, as is the overall topic of health. That’s why, on page 169, I’ve included a Glossary that will help you understand not only the terminology found in this book, but also the terms that may be used by the professionals on your healthcare team. It’s vital that you communicate with your team—about how you’re feeling, about how you’re responding to treatments, and about ways in which you can improve your care. This Glossary will help you out when the discussions get a bit technical. On page 177, a Resources section will let you know about websites and organizations that can provide further information about topics of interest, and will steer you to companies that offer a range of health-enhancing products.
I cannot overstate the fact that you are a vital member of your own health team, and that you will reap the most benefits from your treatments if you participate in your own care. With the help of this book, I promise that you will learn the secrets to not just surviving but truly thriving on dialysis, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Let’s get started!