Why Nephrology Associates of Michigan?

Nephrology Associates of Michigan (NAM) was founded in 1974, it has enjoyed the trust of patients and referring physicians throughout Southeast Michigan.

  • Nephrology Associates of Michigan
  • 5333 McAuley Dr.
    Suite 4003
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197
  • Phone: 734.712.3470
  • Email: info@kidneyaa.com

Let's Beat It!

As the iconic lyrics of Michael Jackson say:

"Beat it, just beat it, No one wants to be defeated...
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight".

Let’s work together and make this your attitude this summer!

Currently, most regions across the country are experiencing extreme heat with record-high humidity. And frighteningly, rates of hemodialysis non-adherence increase when outdoor temperatures rise above 82.4F. According to Climatecentral.org: “Heat is the number one weather-related killer among chronically ill patients such as those on Dialysis — more than tornados, floods, and hurricanes”. And unfortunately, “Dialysis patients are particularly sensitive to periods of high heat. It is estimated that between 600 and 1,500 heat-related deaths occur in an average summer in the United States”.

In addition to increasing the risk of mortality, sweltering heat can cause problems throughout the body such as dehydration, fluid overload, cramps, severe exhaustion, dizziness, vomiting, heat rash, heart complications (the leading cause of death in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community), and exacerbation (worsening) of respiratory issues, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Since dialysis patients are particularly sensitive to hot weather and the complications of heat exhaustion and dehydration - as well as the related challenges of over-hydrating (not following fluid restrictions), consuming foods high in potassium and phosphorus - and even causing car accidents in hot weather due to heat-related symptoms, I’ve compiled some ways to help BEAT THE HEAT.

First, you and your family/friends and caregivers need to be able to recognize signs of dehydration so you can respond and get help quickly.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Too Much Heat:

Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away if you or someone you know has symptoms of heat illness, such as:

  • Hot, dry skin, OR cold, clammy skin
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation

Next, I've compiled some tips & tricks to help combat the heat this summer.

Extreme Summer Heat: Tips for Dialysis Patients

When it’s hot outside, it can be even hotter inside. Air conditioning can be a life saver. You can be safe, comfortable, and save money by setting your air conditioner to 78°F or low cool.

  • Use your air conditioner when you are at home; fans alone will not keep you cool when it is really hot outside
  • If you do not have an air conditioner: Go to a cool place like a library, a friend’s home with air conditioning, or a cooling center- especially during the hottest hours of the day. You can call your county department of health and ask, "Where is the cooling center nearest to me?"
  • Try to stay in the shade; exposure to the sun causes perspiration and the urge to drink excessively (ruining your chances to stay within your Fluid Restriction order given by your practitioner)
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothes
  • Brush your teeth often; it cleans your teeth, freshens your mouth, and lessens the urge to drink
  • If you really have to drink, sip slowly rather than gulping the whole glass down
  • Avoid salty and spicy foods; they can make you more thirsty
  • If you have diabetes, maintain good blood sugar control; high blood glucose can make you thirsty

Never sit waiting in a hot car: Sometimes after Dialysis in order to recover - or while waiting for a family member or friend to run errands - a Dialysis patient will stay seated in the car. Patients should never wait in cars while it is hot outside. Even with the windows down, it is often a big no-no. As a result, just a few minutes in a hot car can be extremely dangerous - even fatal for patients. Try to find a bench outside or wait inside the destination that you are visiting (which likely has air conditioning) instead of taking the risk of staying in the car.

When driving, you can be a risk to yourself and others if you become dehydrated and get dizzy or pass out behind the wheel. If you are a driver, ensure that you are not experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of heat illness before getting behind-the-wheel - and be sure to use the air conditioning when traveling in the heat. If you are experiencing any concerning symptoms, be responsible and DON’T DRIVE.

Food/Product tips to help tackle the thirst:

  • Limit your thirst by avoiding salt, sugar, and sports drinks (which are often higher in sodium).
  • Sucking on a lemon wedge, ice chips, sugar-free sour candy, eating frozen grapes, frozen cubes of apple or cranberry juice are refreshing alternatives to over-hydration
  • Popsicles
  • My personal favorite: Halo Top Dairy free frozen dessert. This is not only dialysis friendly but also diabetic friendly ~ when compared to other ice creams it is much lower in sugar! **BUT you still need to take your binders as there are other substitutes that may raise your phosphorus levels. The dairy-free dessert industry is exploding, and Halo Top Creamery offers numerous flavors. All of the Halo Top Dairy-Free pints are currently soy-free, vegan, and made with a coconut base. But unlike many coconut ice creams, these contain just 280 to 360 calories per full pint, and only a few grams of fat per half-cup serving. They’re also relatively low in sugar, with around 4 to 8 grams per serving. Price: The suggested retail price of Halo Top Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert is generally around $4.99 per pint, and can be found at most local supermarkets (like target, kroger, walmart and meijers).

Other fun products:

Cooling towels - Tackle the dog days of summer with a cooling towel. Whether you are on the go or at the job site, you can cool down quickly and easily with a cooling towels. Simply moisten the towel with cold water and you are ready for instant cooling relief. The technology allows the towel to be re-wet and used over and over. Evaporative Cooling BanEd. Ranging from $2-12 on Amazon

Misting Fans - These fans will help cool you down while misting your face, body or even mouth (to help limit your fluid intake) all at the push of a button. On Amazon, the prices range from $5-20.

Done by:

Martha McAleer, NP

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