If hypotension is the suspected cause of cramping dextrose may be given to increase the fluid in your body thereby increasing your blood pressure.
Muscle cramping of the hands, feet, and legs is fairly common on hemodialysis. The cause of muscle cramping is unknown. However, three conditions that seem to increase cramping are: 1) hypotension; 2) the patient being below dry weight; and 3) use of low sodium dialysis solution.
Treatment for cramping vary from unit to unit. When you are cramping and have low blood pressure, the staff may give normal saline. This will increase the fluid in your body and muscle cramping may be relieved. In addition, hypertonic saline or glucose/ dextrose may be given. Heat and massage for the cramping muscle can ease the pain. Ask your doctor and staff what treatments are available to you. For chronic leg cramps they may prescribe Quinine, Carnitine, or another medication.
To avoid cramping, be sure to stick to your fluid and sodium restrictions every day. Maintaining a balance between your dry weight and fluid gains and avoiding foods that make you thirsty and give rise to higher fluid intake are your best defense against muscle cramping.
Also try a program of gentle stretching and toning exercises targeted at the muscles which may tend to cramp during dialysis. Before starting any exercise program, consult with your doctor.
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