Jeff McEachern has Alport syndrome which has resulted in kidney failure. Jeff’s participation in the ongoing intradialytic exercise (IDE) within the Southern Alberta Renal Program (SARP) began last November 2018. He states that intradialytic exercise has “changed my life!”
Mr. McEachern wants to get the word out so other people will know what a positive effect IDE has had on his life.
In 2009 Jeff became very sick. He was taken into the hospital where he learned he had Alport syndrome and was completely septic. He had only 25% of his kidney function.
Alport syndrome is hereditary. His grandmother on his mother’s side had a biopsy confirming the diagnosis and more recently the University of Saskatchewan ran tests on his family pinpointing the specific gene causing his renal disease.
Using the Stel’Air Medical Pedaller During Dialysis
Mr. McEachern began peritoneal dialysis in 2011. From 2013 to 2018 he had been on home hemodialysis. A couple of years ago he began to try a medical pedaller during his regular appointments at the home hemodialysis clinic. He noticed he felt much better after these dialysis treatments but didn’t make the connection until he started to participate in the IDE program at the Sheldon Chumir location.
Jeff has needed a transplant for years but because he was overweight, and other health factors, he was not eligible to be on the transplant list.
That has changed just recently as a result of his participation at SARP. In November 2018 Jeff began to take part in the intradialytic exercise program at the in hemodialysis unit. He now pedals for an hour during his dialysis treatments.
Exercising While on Dialysis.
When he started exercising during dialysis he noticed a “huge difference” in how he felt. Mr. McEachern says he wishes he had known about the positive effects of pedalling during dialysis three years ago.
After the intradialytic exercise during treatments he also noticed a remarkable increase in energy and no longer suffered from restless legs.
Within short order the feeling of increased energy enabled him to soon expand the amount of exercise he could do to outside the clinic. He felt well enough to go to the gym where he follows a workout schedule designed for him by the SARP Clinical Kinesiologist, Kristen Parker.
Mr. McEachern now has the energy to go to the Quarry Park YMCA in Calgary 3 times a week. His exercise program is a strength training circuit where he lifts weights for a total body workout. He also cycles for 30 minutes on the stationary bike at the gym and walks the track to get in his 10,000 steps.
At home he continues his exercise using a Stel’Air Medical Pedaller YL-832 loaned to him from the Southern Alberta Renal Program (SARP). He uses it at home everyday for one hour a day.
The results speak for themselves. Not only does he notice that walking upstairs is much easier but since December 2018 he has lost body fat, gained muscle, and with one more kilogram to go, will be eligible to be on the kidney transplant list.
According to Parker, the Stel’Air Medical Pedallers are put through their paces in the Alberta Health Dialysis Clinics. They are always on the go. The Medical Pedallers are used between 350-360 sessions per week where each session can be from 30 minutes to the full 4 hrs of the dialysis treatment.
Southern Alberta Renal Program has been offering exercise during hemodialysis to its patients at ten locations since 2005.
The bike loan program is new this year and they have 18 bikes to “loan” to patients for free to use at home. All are currently allocated (and well utilized!), and they are hoping for more funding or donations to purchase more home bikes. To donate to the SARP and their IDE program please go to the Kidney Foundation website.