Low Blood Magnesium Levels Could Cause Hemodialysis Headaches in Those With Kidney Disease

When CKD advances past a certain stage and hemodialysis becomes a necessity in order to cleanse one’s blood of toxins and improve quality of life, the last thing a kidney sufferer wants to deal with is a chronic headache after each dialysis session, which itself can already leave recipients feeling wiped out for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, if your magnesium levels are low and you’re going for hemodialysis, you may be at risk of developing chronic headaches. These are known as ‘hemodialysis headache’ or HDH. 

Although the exact cause for this condition isn’t known, there are theories as hemodialysis headache has been recognized for several years as a persistent problem for many dialysis recipients. Some of the theorized causes for HDH include high blood pressure in the arteries, high blood urea nitrogen, decreased serum osmolality and/or sodium washout. Additionally, one of the persistent (and consistently reported) connections between HDH and other kinds of chronic headaches, such as menstrual migraine, tension-type headaches, posttraumatic and cluster headaches is a significantly low level of magnesium.

Magnesium is such a vital nutrient for keeping the body performing well, helping it fend off high blood pressure, defend against inflammation and even facilitate better digestion. A recent study sought to test the magnesium connection a bit further by following 250 hemodialysis recipients and questioning them about any headaches they may be experiencing. Of these, 75 were formally diagnosed with HDH. For each participant, blood pressure, weight, serum levels, BUN and creatinine were all checked and measured along with magnesium levels. Findings between the control group and the HDH group revealed that those with HDH had significantly lower levels of Magnesium. The researchers heading the study concluded that magnesium supplementation could help with hemodialysis headaches. For more on this be sure to check out our YouTube.