Dialysis and getting rid of restless legs

One of the recurring hassles of kidney trouble and the BigD is jiggly or restless legs.

No one knows what causes restless legs. It could be in your DNA (susceptibility to restless legs can be identified as a marker when you get your genome read). It could be caused by whatever medical problem you have (like kidney failure). It may just arrive with middle age (like ear and nostril hair, and just as welcome).

Whatever way, when they come, you’ll know it: they get a mind of their own and can’t sit still (and not in a nice, dancin’ sort of way either). For me, it’s like they are out of sync with the rest of my body. I’m sitting or lying down, ready to doze or sleep, but my legs are electric, jiggling every few seconds, ready to take me on a brisk trot around the block, and no is not an option.

I first had them years ago. I tried a lots of ways to get rid of them, from a zero coffee and alcohol diet (which I think helped) to strong medication, which just masked the problem (by turning me into a drowsy zombie; I got to sleep, but I seemed to stay that way, even when I wanted to be awake). I found that only one thing answered: exercise. I started walking then jogging, and they slowly disappeared. I add a little stretching before bed when I remember, and it’s off to sleep (eventually).

So, that’s my experience. But there are a lot of others places you can go for advice (including your doctor). There is even a worldwide body dedicated to finding a cure.

My advice, like all the other challenges of the BigD is to keep experimenting. Try massage, vary your diet, take a walk before you go to bed. We are all different, and I’m sure there is an answer for each of us. You just need to find it.

2 thoughts on “Dialysis and getting rid of restless legs

  1. Have you or anyone you know ever experienced an internal shaking that begins about an hour into the BigD. My mother is ready to give up because of this incredible discomfort. Her BP goes up, her pulse races and she passes out if it is allowed to go without massive doses of benydril to calm her internally. Outwardly there are no symptoms other than her vitals, but the attendants do not seem alarmed by her BP or pulse. She is 79 and sharp as a tack, but going down hill spiritually. Wants to quit dialysis. Anyone got anything


  2. I have been asking around about this. One BigD nurse friend of mine told me that one of the people she nursed on dialysis, Kit, had a terrible time every time, getting the shakes, and if not monitored closely, losing consciousness.

    Anna, the unit manager I have spoken of before came up with a solution. She worked out that Kit could not tolerate any fluid removal while dialysing. Her solution was to give Kit an endless glass of ice while she dialysed, so it was a near zero sum equation. And it worked a treat. It was lucky that Kit rarely put on weight between sessions, so extra fluid was not a problem. She gradually became a little more tolerant.
    Maybe your mother is the same. Have a talk with the unit manager and see if she will give it a try.

    Good Luck and let us know how it goes.


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