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Creatinine 7, Shortness of Breath, Fatigue: Is Dialysis Necessary

2014-07-07 08:27

Q:

My creatinine is at 7. I have shortness of breath and some fatigue. Should I start dialysis?

A:

The followings are the several factors that help to decide whether a kidney failure patient should start dialysis or not:

1. Creatinine level and symptoms

For kidney failure patients, they are suggested to do dialysis when their creatinine level in blood is higher than 5 or 6, but dialysis is not a must at that time. Usually, when their serum creatinine becomes very high and meanwhile they are suffering from symptoms like lung fluid, severe skin itching and vomiting, dialysis is needed reguarly to keep blood clean. Additional, in such a case, patients can get remission about symptoms we mentioned just now after dialysis.

2. Potassium level

Potassium level is another indicator that help to make the decision whether dialysis is needed by a kidney failure patient. Potassium is an important electrolyte in our body which is normally kept in the range from 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/L. Dialysis is usually needed when potassium level in blood is as high as 6.5.

How about your potassium level now? If it is higher than 6.5, you need to start dialysis for life safety, because persistent high potassium level in blood will damage your heart and cause deadly complications like heart failure and stroke. Besides, your creatinine as of now is 7 which is also very high. Under such a condition, you run high risk for nausea, vomiting, skin itching and shortness of breath. Pulmonary edema is a common cause for kidney failure patients to have difficulties in breath.Therefore, even if your potassium level is in normal range, you need to start dialysis as soon as possible if you suffer from shortness of breath due to pulmonary edema. However, if you have no other symptoms, and your breath problem is not due to fluid retention, you can deplay dialysis for some time, but remember to have test regularly, so as to know your condition well and then do dialysis timely when it becomes a must.

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