Physical activity for dialysis patients - fashion or necessity?

Chronic kidney disease affects every tenth adult in Lithuania and is considered a dangerous disease, because there may be no symptoms until the kidney loses even up to 70-80% of its function. When end-stage kidney disease has been identified it becomes a major challenge for both the patients and their families. Patients, which need renal replacement therapy become dependent on procedures and the new rhythm of life. Diaverum clinics were the firsts clinics in Lithuania which start providing free physiotherapy services to dialysis patients to improve their quality of life because physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are an integral part of treatment.

Exercise in lying down position - mission possible

Dialysis patients must go to clinics three times per week and spend here four hours in a lying or sitting position until their metabolic products and excess water are removed from blood with special filters. During the procedure, patients can sleep, read, watch, or listen to their favorite shows, but our clinic patients can exercise under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist who creates an individual program and look after the patient during each dialysis session while are in lying position.

Virmantas Juodis, our physiotherapist who works in the company, spends a lot of time with patients and assesses each person's physical ability, creates individual exercises plans, supervises their performance, discusses the patient's condition daily, with a nephrologist, improves the exercise plan. During each procedure, every patient is treated individually for about 30-40 minutes. Massages are also provided to patients as needed.

"Patients on dialysis often have other health problems, which we are gradually starting to solve with the help of massages, e.g., in case of impaired lymph drainage, lymphatic drainage massage is performed”, says V. Juodis.

Physiotherapy - Lithuania

Physiotherapy on dialysis

The project is unique in that the exercises and massages by a competent team are adapted while the patient is lying down. The patient does not have any costs, waiting in queues, or have trips to other health facilities. Research has shown that physical activity is also important for our psychological well-being. It’s clear now that light exercise often has the same effect as even antidepressants. Virmantas says, therefore, we truly believe that it will help our patients feel not only physically stronger but also happier. We could feel that better mood at the clinic now.

Active patient involvement is the best motivation for doctors

 Nephrologists of the clinic are happy that patients are actively involved in this project. One patient A. Š. told that he felt his health and strength improved. The patient keeps the festive decorations in a sofa bedding box. While he is decorating the house, he was faced with the problem that removing decorations is too difficult and the sofa is too heavy for him. After a month of exercising and participating in a physiotherapy program, putting the decorations back in place, the man said he opened the sofa and put decorations back without much effort. Feeling such great results, he is very glad and happy to continue exercising.

Exercise on your own or with a specialist?

Physiotherapist V. Juodis says:

“The patients can perform the exercises on their own, but it should be noted that the complete safe to do it patients can be ensured only under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Today we could find many articles and videos on how to exercise, but without the necessary knowledge, even a healthy person can do damage to his health. Therefore, you need to consult a specialist before using any new medicines, so you have to do it before starting exercise.”