Coping with Kidney Disease

Every year thousands of people develop kidney disease.  Some people are diagnosed months or years before needing some kind of treatment.  Others are diagnosed in an emergency or crisis situation.  In either case, patients and their families are understandably upset and may need help in coping and understanding kidney disease.  Many patients experience the same feelings and emotions when reacting to the news that they have kidney disease. 

Some of the feelings patients and their families experiance are:

  • Shock – you may find it difficult to believe what the doctor is telling you
  • Denial – you may refuse to believe that you have kidney disease
  • Anger – you may be angry at yourself, the people around you, or with God
  • Guilt – you may believe that if you had done something different you would not have kidney disease
  • Depression – it is not unusal for one to become depressed when face with a major illness

It is important to remember to discuss any or all of the feelings you are experiencing with your physicians.


Sex and Kidney Disease

Many men and women with kidney failure experience changes in their sexual lives.  These changes may affect your interest in sex and your ability to have sexual relations.  These changes may vary from person to person.  There are both medical and emotional reasons for these changes.  Medical reasons may include anemia, side effects of medications, and a build-up of waste products in the blood.  Emotional reasons may include anxiety, depression, stress, and tension.  It is common for men with kidney disease to become impotent, the inability to have or maintain an erection.  Women with kidney disease may have a difficult time becoming aroused.



Making exercise a regular part of your day can help to improve the quality of your life.  Evercising provides many benefits, such as:

  • Improves blood pressure control
  • Strengthens muscle and bones
  • Lowers blood level of cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Elevates your mood
  • Improves sleep
  • Better control of body weight

Before beginning an exercise program, it is important to speak with your doctor.  Your doctor can help you create an exercise plan that is best suited for you.  Make sure that whatever activity/exercise you choose is something that is enjoyable and convenient for you.  You should try to exercise at least three day a week for 30 minutes.  It may be necessary to gradually build up to this level.

Types of exercise may include:

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Bicycling

(Above information from Baxter Healthcare)

Life Options is a website dedicated to information regarding the well being of patients with chronic kidney disease.

LiveNow is another excellent website focussing attention on how different patients cope with kidney disease.