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Adjusting to Life on Dialysis

Take Your Medicines, Take Control

People on dialysis often take quite a few medications, and the timing of when they’re taken truly matters. For instance, you may be prescribed phosphate binders to take when you eat, and a renal vitamin to take at a different time. Follow this advice to make maintaining a daily medication routine easier:

Listen and learn: Make a list of your medications, including over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, and talk to your doctor about why each one was prescribed, when they should be taken and the vital role they play in your kidney care.

Stay organized: Try using a plastic medication organizer and take each medication at the same time every day (unless your physician directs otherwise). Another great tip is to associate taking your medicine with other daily events, such as watching your favourite TV program or going to bed.

Stick to it: If you experience side effects, speak with your physician before you stop taking any medications. Also, refill necessary prescriptions on time to avoid running out of medication.

Know Your Medicine Cabinet

Medications to avoid include over-the-counter pain pills such as ibuprofen, naproxen and some supplements that have been known to damage kidneys.

Dig into the Dialysis Diet

There are two things to know about the dialysis diet: first, it’s different from the food choices you may already be making, and second, you should try not to make a lot of changes at once. Some people on the dialysis diet start out focusing on what they “can’t” eat. While there are certainly foods and beverages to avoid, remember that following dialysis nutrition guidelines are a way to take control of your health and have a better quality of life. Think of the dialysis diet as an opportunity to try new things. Planning meals and sharing them with your family can be fun and enjoyable.

Prepare Yourself and Your Healthcare Team

One of the most important things you can do to ease your transition to dialysis is to keep everyone on your healthcare team informed. Your primary care doctor, diabetes doctor, cardiologist—they’ll all need to know when you start dialysis, as it may affect your labs, your health goals and the medications they prescribe.

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