The word ‘immunity’ has probably never been used as much as it was in 2020. As we stand on the verge of exiting the year, the pandemic forces us to rethink what we believed about immunity.
In normal times, most of us do not consciously think of our immunity. We can venture out, indulge in street food, explore new places without worrying about potential infection. However, with COVID-19, we’ve become more aware and cautious about what we consume, where we go and how we interact with the world.
The pandemic has also restricted our external engagements and activities.
It was stressful for all of us. However, the situation was worse for those whose immune systems are compromised. For instance, people suffering from cancer, autoimmune conditions, or whose immune systems are weaker.
People with kidney issues come under the latter category. There are many reasons why kidney function is affected. High blood pressure, diabetes, genetic conditions are all causes for kidney failure. Regardless of the cause, dialysis might be required to help kidney functions, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
Dialysis is a treatment where excess water and toxins are removed from the body. The procedure takes about 4 hours at a time, and might have to be repeated twice or thrice a week, depending on the condition of the patient.
Hemodialysis sessions can be done in the hospital, or in a private center or even at home.
COVID-19 has created challenges for those who need to undergo dialysis frequently. Kidney patients are among the high-risk category and can be prone to infections. The frequent travel to the dialysis center leaves them vulnerable to infections.
They are also on a strict renal diet. Combined with the mental and physical stress of dialysis, it is important for a dialysis patient to ensure their calorie intake is spread through the day. It is also important to maintain a balance in diet and exercise.
There are some critical things that can be done at home to ensure fitness and immunity.
1. Bridging gap between nutrition and immunity: Malnutrition leads to low immunity, therefore leading to a weaker body for dialysis patients. Careful diet planning is must for a dialysis patient. Each patient is different and it is important to consult a certified dietician, along with your doctor to ensure there is a properly guided plan.
2. Avoid herbal supplements: You may get advised every now and then from a friend or family member about how herbal supplements have improved their health and well being. Herbal supplements might be fine for them but it can be dangerous for kidney patients undergoing dialysis. Herbal supplements are often unsafe for kidney patients since some of these supplements can make the condition worse as kidneys cannot clear waste products that can build up in the body.
3. Include light walking in daily routine: Walking should be a part of the daily routine for a dialysis patient, as some are not allowed to do high intensity workouts. Try to get in a 30-minute walk each day, in the sun. Sunlight is critical to develop strong immunity and is beneficial for all.
4. Maintain proper sleep cycle: Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle for the dialysis patient is important. They should get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Improper sleep cycle lowers the ability to fight infection and increases inflammation. It is always advisable to sleep for seven to eight hours every night.
5. Regular Blood Tests: Most kidney conditions are often hard to diagnose without blood tests. Frequent blood tests and consultations can provide a good idea of the state of the body, and the treatment plan amended accordingly