Sleep Better with Dialysis at Home

Hemodialysis at home improves restless legs syndrome

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Sleep problems are common among kidney patients who go through the dialysis process. A new study shows that short, daily dialysis sessions at home can reduce patients' sleep problems related to restless legs syndrome.

After studying a group of patients for a year, researchers found that short, in-home hemodialysis sessions 6 times per week led to a decrease in the amount of patients reporting restless legs syndrome. Patients with kidney disease who are receiving hemodialysis treatment (a way to remove waste products from the blood when kidneys have failed) are much more likely to have restless legs syndrome than people without kidney disease.

dailyRx Insight: Short dialysis sessions at home can help kidney patients sleep better.

Restless legs can be caused by nerve damage or chemical imbalances. Patients with restless legs syndrome can have trouble sleeping because of aching or jittery legs. The condition may even cause people to kick and thrash.

Dr. Bertrand L. Jaber, from St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, and colleagues studied 235 kidney disease patients with restless legs syndrome. At the end of 12 months, 127 participants completed a follow-up exam. The percentage of patients reporting moderate-to-severe restless legs syndrome decreased from 59 percent to 43 percent.

Chronic kidney disease affects over 26 million people in the United States, with more being affected by instances of acute kidney disease. Kidney disease results when the kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter out waste products from the blood and maintain the proper balance of water, salts and proteins in the blood. Chronic kidney failure can be caused by a multitude of reasons, but is commonly seen in patients with high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as patients with autoimmune diseases. Acute kidney failure is similar to chronic kidney failure in that the kidneys fail to do their jobs, but it happens at a more rapid pace, usually due to loss of blood flow, toxic drugs, or obstruction of urine flow. Symptoms of kidney failure include feeling tired, muscle cramps, trouble sleeping, swollen feet and puffy eyes, and an increased need to urinate. Eventually many patients need replacement of the hormones erythropoietin and calcitriol, and sometimes dialysis and kidney transplantation Treatment includes medications like ACE inhibitors (Lotensin, Capoten, Vasotec) and ARBs (Cozaar, Diovan, Benicar) although they are not curative.. Diagnosis is made by measuring substances in the blood and urine.

The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 25, 2011
Last Updated:
March 27, 2011