Leg Cramping During Hemo Dialysis

I’ve been searching for a message about this that was previously posted, and I can’t find it anywhere.
My husband is the type who still urinates but needs dialysis for everything else.
When he was on Hemo Dialysis, he would get these horrible cramps-Charlie Horses in his leg that would make his leg sore for a week. His temperature would go up, and the blood pressure would drop.
We later found out that they were taking too much fluid from him.
The original doctor wouldn’t make any changes to reduce the fluid being removed.
My husband had to actually stop going for a few weeks to get their attention.
The new doctor at the center said, “OK. We’ll take less fluid.”
From that time on, he had no more problems with the leg cramps.

He is now on PD and doing very well.

Hi Unregistered,

I’m glad to hear that your husband is now doing well on PD. PD is much less likely to cause painful leg cramps than standard in-center HD, because the fluid removal goes on every night (or all the time), so it is much more gentle. This also makes it easier on the heart.

It’s so important for folks to keep in mind that they know their bodies better than the doctors do. Any HD treatment that results in painful cramps is pulling off too much water. When someone first starts HD, they will often pull of fluid until cramps occur on purpose to figure out what the dry weight should be. Once that is known, it will still change if “real” (muscle/fat) weight is gained–which is common when someone gets back their appetite after starting treatment.

“Going by the numbers” is not good care. Good care means paying attention to the person and how the treatment affects him or her. I’m sorry that your husband had to go on a dialysis strike to get the treatment he needed, but glad he succeeded.