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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.

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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

Factors That May Contribute To Renal Failure

by Francisco Arnold

If you have end-stage renal failure, your nephrologist will talk to you about dialysis treatment options. You can choose to have your dialysis treatments at a kidney dialysis outpatient center, at your local hospital, or even at home. Regardless of which option you choose, you will still need to take steps to preserve your remaining kidney function. Here are some things that may contribute to existing renal failure and what you can do about them:

Acetaminophen 

Certain over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen may put excess strain on your renal system. While taking aspirin and ibuprofen can also damage the kidneys if taken in large doses, acetaminophen is thought to be more toxic to the kidneys, especially in those with preexisting renal disease. 

If you take acetaminophen to manage chronic pain, talk to your physician about the correct dosage and never take more than the recommended amount. If your physician has not placed you on a fluid restrictive diet, be sure to drink plenty of water to flush out excess medication byproducts and toxins out of your body so that they do not buildup in your system. 

High Sodium Diet

If you consume a diet high in sodium, you may develop diminished kidney function. This may cause your body to retain too much sodium, which can raise your blood pressure and strain your renal system. High blood pressure can further damage your kidneys, which may make your dialysis less effective in filtering out waste products.

If you eat foods high in sodium, you may develop fluid retention, or edema, of your face, abdomen, and ankles. If you retain too much fluid in your abdomen, you may lose your appetite, feel uncomfortable, and develop stomach pain. 

When you consume a low-sodium diet, other treatments and therapies for your renal failure such as dialysis may be more effective. In addition to a higher risk for high blood pressure, consuming a high salt diet may also raise your risk for cardiovascular disease. If you develop cardiovascular disease, your renal problems may worsen as a result of poor circulation when your heart is unable to effectively pump blood to your kidneys.

If conservative treatment for your renal problems such as blood pressure medication, weight management, and not smoking have been unsuccessful, talk to your nephrologist about dialysis treatment options. The sooner toxins are effectively filtered out of your body via kidney dialysis, the sooner you will enjoy better health and more energy. 

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