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Ph.D. thesis shows why patients subjected to dialysis face their illness in different ways
Date:1/10/2011

Patients who have to undergo dialysis see their lives inevitably affected by the treatment. Despite medical advances, the quality of life perceived by these kidney patients has improved very little, although it varies from person to person. Basing this as her starting point, Dr Begoa Ruiz de Alegra studied the emotional progress of patients treated with dialysis (hospitalised haemodialysis treatment and domiciliary peritoneal dialysis) in the Basque Country Autonomous Community. She was able to identify the factors influencing this emotional progress and conclude that not all patients assimilate their illness in the same way results which will help to establish future treatment and enhance the quality of life of these patients. Her thesis, defended at the University of Basque Country (UPV/EHU), was entitled, Living with dialysis. Confronting it and quality of life.

The results of the research reveal a process of the patient facing up to the illness in a dynamic manner. According to Dr Ruiz de Alegra, the start of dialysis involves an impact that is initially dealt with through an emotional catharsis, then the emotions begin to be regulated, after six months the situation can be processed cognitively and, finally, after a year, a more active and instrumental dealing with the situation is adopted.

Introspection or adaptation

The way in which each patient responds during this process and perceives their illness and quality of life varies notably. Two ways of confronting the illness are described: deliberate introspection and deliberate adaptation. Introspection involves the amplification of negative emotional states in the medium term: patients think about how things might be without dialysis, setting themselves unrealistic targets (and being self-critical on not reaching them), and avoid being with other people. These are persons who have weaker emotional networks and live with greater stress.

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Contact: Amaia Portugal
a.portugal@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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