Kidney disease affects approximately 10% of the global population today, which is close to 800 million people. This figure is constantly rising and has increased by 29.3% since 1990 worldwide. Needless to say, it is a disease that deserves greater attention, not simply because of its scale. Kidney disease and the associated treatments can be detrimental to an individual’s wellness and relationships with their loved ones and society at large. It begins with physiological difficulties.
How does It Do This?
It can cause problems ranging from shortness of breath to increased blood acidity and kidney stones. It can even lead to a higher risk of heart disease, making kidney disease a life-threatening condition. All of this means it needs to be handled with great care, interrupting patients’ daily routines. A loss of employment and an overall drop in the quality of life is not uncommon. Of course, these are all material consequences, but an often-overlooked facet of kidney disease is perhaps just as important as the other concerns raised by this illness.
Lesser discussed are the mental health challenges that kidney disease and the dialysis treatments and lifestyle changes that come with it.
Here are a few common observations that kidney disease patients report regarding their mental health.
Many kidney patients slip into depression, with low moods and lower interest in social activities. An erratic appetite can lead to dangerous fluctuations in weight and make their already delicate health more fragile. In addition, patients report having trouble sleeping and feeling a lack of energy for daily activities.
2. Social Anxiety
Even those who may not be dealing with a serious condition like kidney disease often worry about what people think about us. With the feelings of powerlessness and dependence on someone else that often come with kidney disease, it is natural to feel social anxiety. Unfortunately, such fears only bolster a loss of interest in social activities due to depression.
3. Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are caused by various reasons but result in extreme fear, an increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing.
What are The Reasons?
There are numerous stresses that arise for kidney disease patients, both material and emotional. Here is a list of some factors that lead to depression.
Dialysis, an essential part of kidney disease treatment, can be financially taxing for many. Excessive worry about the expense and the family’s financial future may lead to undesirable mental conditions, including depression.
Dialysis can be time-consuming:
Kidney diseases demand many lifestyle changes. Frequent dialysis is one such change they have to make way for. The process of dialysis is time-consuming. Constantly having to think about illness and being dependent on family members for dialysis treatment can cause significant amounts of stress.
Employment, or the lack of it:
Many lose employment due to the restrictions placed by living with kidney disease. Aside from the exacerbation of the financial worries stated above, the loss of employment also results in major lifestyle changes. This can be a significant stressor.
A direct consequence of the physiological changes due to kidney disease is difficulty sleeping. This is a major cause of stress, as the body cannot effectively care for itself.
How to Deal With It?
First, it is necessary to acknowledge the genuine importance of mental health. Remember that what you feel is valid, but that does not mean you have to live with that feeling. It is the key to managing such challenges effectively. A mental health professional is the person you need to recover your mental and emotional health effectively.
There is no shame in getting support. Prioritize your health and worry about society later.
A great mental health team, especially for people struggling with kidney disease, can be found at Nephromed Medical Center. They have extensive experience in managing kidney treatment and the corresponding mental health facilities that may be required. Some of the best-trained and skilled nephrologists in Nairobi, Kenya, are available at the centre. They carry out dialysis in Nairobi and offer world-class facilities and counselling services.
Do not ignore the mental health challenges that you may face. Nephromed aims for the overall well-being of the patients.