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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford Kidney Unit

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Patient experience

General health and wellbeing

Kidney failure has a physical impact on your health, and for some people, being told they have a chronic illness can affect how they are feeling emotionally. People can feel angry, sad, depressed, worried and anxious.

Physical and emotional changes in your health can lead to difficulties in personal relationships; they can also interfere with both male and female desire, arousal and orgasm. These difficulties are understandable and quite normal, and may last a short while, or a few weeks, or longer.

Please do not be afraid of discussing emotional or sexual problems with the staff at your unit. They will be familiar with the problems you may encounter, and will be supportive.

Releasing your emotions may help you to understand them so that you can cope with your life with kidney failure better. Remember that partners may feel that they too don't know how to help the person with kidney failure and the relationship may have changed. People need to talk about their fears and feelings.

Kidney Patient Advisors are available to talk to; they offer a range of services relating to personal and emotional support, as well as advice about benefits, housing and employment.

They offer counselling, act as advocates (to help you express your views), and can refer to other services if needed.

Self care

Getting involved in monitoring and managing your health is called 'self care'.

Self care can give you:

  • confidence in being able to cope with a condition
  • greater knowledge of the condition
  • greater treatment satisfaction
  • overall improved health benefits
  • Looking after yourself is important.

Understanding your blood results will help you to monitor aspects of your overall health.

Ask for a print-out of your blood results to keep, or apply to view them from home on your computer, using

You can use this website to compare your results against the normal values.

Blood tests

As a kidney patient it is important to take good care of your veins. Please feel free to remind staff that you have CKD. Blood samples should ideally be taken from the back of your hands or your dominant arm. For example, if you are right handed, your right arm should be used.

Guard your kidneys!

Warn your doctor you have CKD if surgery is planned, you develop another illness or if a new drug is being prescribed.