Dialysis Patients Fair Better When Happier

Mental health can be a major determining factor when it comes to successful dialysis treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Cardiovascular health can be affected by mental health, especially in dialysis patients. Feeling supported and maintaining a positive outlook can help keep patients healthier for longer and even alive.

A recent study took a look at the mental health of dialysis patients and found that mental health is a major factor in physical health.

New approaches to monitoring the mental health of dialysis patients may result in better outcomes and higher life expectancy.

"Let your doctor know how you are feeling."

Dr. Ea Wha Kang, M.D., Ph.D., Ilsan Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, Korea and Dr. Mark Unruh, M.D., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, lead a team to study patients that are going through dialysis. They approached 1,846 patients undergoing dialysis in a clinical trial for the Hemodialysis Study to get a range on their mental health at the beginning of the study and each year after that for three years.

Heart problems are common for people on dialysis and they are the leading cause of death for dialysis patients.

Dr. Kang’s team discovered that patients who were experiencing mental health trouble were far more likely to head to the hospital for heart problems sooner and even pass away due to those heart problems than those patients who did not report mental health trouble.

Though the results of the study may seem desperate right now, the good news is that doctors are beginning to pay attention to the mental health of their dialysis patients.

The risk factors for mental health problems to arise can now be assessed at the start of dialysis treatments and monitored over time. Interventions can be made sooner and more effectively.

Dr. Kang said, “Our results emphasize the link between mind and body in patients with chronic illness and underscore the importance of attention to mental health for preventing cardiac complications and even death in dialysis patients.”

This research could start a positive movement for the way doctors approach patients going through the difficulties of dialysis and help the course of treatment from the get go.

This study was published by the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, April 2012. No conflicts of interest were reported and no financial information was given.

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Review Date: 
April 7, 2012
Last Updated:
April 9, 2012