26 Sep 2018 Living with End Stage Kidney Disease

(Part Two)

It can be done – with the right guidance, mindset and willpower.

When you hear the words “kidney failure”, your thoughts immediately turn to the gloom – is there anything you can do to resolve this, how will you survive it, how will this impact the quality of your life, the list of concerns go on. Unfortunately, kidney disease is a long-term problem and it is not reversible. The good news is that with the proper information and guidance, you can still maintain the quality of your life, although there are lifestyle changes that need to be made.


When it comes to managing end stage kidney disease, the emotional and psychological state of mind makes a lot of difference. Sadly, individuals with kidney disease who are depressed rarely seek help as there is shame and stigma towards mental health treatment.

“Dialysis causes burden, from lifestyle restrictions to social isolation to the financial cost of it all. The individual’s quality of life declines. Essentially, when one is diagnosed with end stage kidney disease, it is the notion of losing control over their lives that will make patients think about their existence and mortality. Some individuals contemplate dying. Being told that they now need to be dependent on machines and medication will have an adverse impact,” says Dr Shane Varman, Consultant Psychiatrist, IMU Healthcare.

Depression and anxiety can easily set in. “This may prevent them from adapting to changes – such as complying with their medication regime or diet and leading a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully, in Malaysia, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists are available in most government and private hospitals to assist patients and caregivers – so they can continue to live fulfilling lives.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) offers financial support and training courses. SOCSO offers financial support for dialysis. For civil servants and pensioners, the government pays for cost of dialysis. Various other religious bodies throughout Malaysia subsidise the cost of dialysis. However, primary prevention is still the best – controlling diabetes hypertension and obesity, and listening to your doctors’ advice to prevent kidney disease,” says Dr Varman.

“It is not the end of the world when you are diagnosed with end stage kidney disease. You can think of it as being given a second chance to live and stay healthy, relatively speaking. The rules are simple, says Dr Kong. “Just follow the instructions from the nurses, doctors and dietitians, and you might live a better and longer life.”

Kidney Disease in Lupus Patients
SLE (Systemic Lupus Erthematosus) is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the body itself. Every organ can be affected and one of the major commonly affected organs is the kidney. “Between 40 to 70 per cent of lupus patients will have kidney issues. The immune system attacks the kidneys and causes damage to the filtration system,” says Dr Benjamin Cheah Tien Eang, Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist at IMU Healthcare.

The biggest problem with treatment in this case is also patient adherence. “A lot of times patients do not follow up”, says Dr Cheah. This, according to the doctor, is due to the fact that treatment for lupus will include steroids that has many side effects, among them is weight gain. This can be distressing to lupus patients.

“We are duty bound to inform patients of all the side effects of the treatments given. In contrast, a lot of alternative therapies may tell patients what they want to hear – no side effects, all natural and the potential for cure. Things that patients love to hear, albeit unsupported by scientific evidence,” says Dr Cheah.

Another issue with lupus? The poor awareness of the disease, particularly in Malaysia. This may result in a delay in the diagnosis, which can lead to more serious organ damage and a poorer quality of life. It also results in patients feeling isolated and alone, and invites social stigma.

This article is brought to you by IMU Healthcare.

Related article: Living with End Stage Kidney Disease (Part One)

26 Sep 2018|Health|0 Comments

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