Can Kidney Dialysis Treatment Increase Patients Live?

Kidney Dialysis is a process of removing waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys are not functioning properly. It is done by a special machine by diverting the blood to a machine. A normal functioning kidney filters the blood, removes the harmful waste products and fluids in the form of urine.

When is dialysis needed?

Dialysis is needed for patient who are near to the end stage kidney failure. Precisely, it is when 80 to 90% of kidney functioning is lost and the Glomerular filtration rate becomes less than 15. In other cases, when the kidneys are not working properly and have lost the efficiency to clean the blood due to chronic kidney disease. It is needed as if the waste products are not cleaned than they may build up in high levels in the body. If the kidneys are left untreated than this may a lot of unpleasant health complications and may even prove fatal.

How is dialysis done?

Dialysis is performed in two ways. One is Haemodialysis and the other is peritoneal dialysis.

Hemodialysis: It is a kidney dialysis procedure that can be performed at home or in a dialysis or in a dialysis centre. In the process of hemodialysis, the blood is pumped via a soft tube in to a dialysis machine. Next in the machine, the blood goes through a special filter called dialyzer. Here the blood travels to a special filter called a dialyzer and then returns to the blood stream. At once, only a small amount of blood is filtered. In the dialysis centre, the hemodialysis treatment has to be carried out for 3-5hours and three times a week. However, when the hemodialysis is carried out at home the process is flexible. At home, if the hemodilaysis is carried out daily it should be done for 1½ to 2 hours.

To carry out the process, the doctor needs to make an access into the blood vessels via a minor surgery in to the arm or leg. There are three types of access that can be made to enter the blood vessels. The first access can be made by joining an artery to a vein under the skin so as to make a bigger blood vessel called fistula. The second access is via a graft. For some patients, the blood vessels are not adequate to make a fistula instead a soft plastic tube joins the artery to a vein. This is referred as graft. The third access is made via catheter. In this, a catheter is inserted into a large vein via the neck or chest. The end of tubes are kept out of the body. It is used when the dialysis is done for a short span of time. This type of Catheters are used as a permanent access when a fistula or a graft cannot be placed. In some cases the access can be temporary but can also be used for a long-term treatment.

Peritoneal Dialysis: It is more off a home based treatment that can be done anywhere. The only compulsion is that it should be carried out daily. Initially, a surgeon does a minor operation to place a catheter inside the abdomen. In this dialysis, the blood is cleaned inside the body. The lining of the abdomen act as a natural filter. During the treatment a cleansing solution called dialysate flows in to the abdomen via a soft tube called a PD catheter. The extra waste and fluid pass from the blood in to a cleansing solution. Further, after few hours the used solution is drained out from the abdomen and refilled with fresh cleansing solution to start off the process. The process of removing and exchanging solution is little tedious and is termed as an “exchange.”

How beneficial is dialysis?

Dialysis is life-saving. Although it is long tiring, physically, and emotionally draining process that is very hard on the body. Dialysis increases the life expectancy of patient for a maximum of 5 years. However, the work done by dialysis is 10% of the work done by kidney. Constant use of dialysis can cause severe health problems like anaemia, infection, bone diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and nerve damage. There are cases when the patients die due to heart attack when on dialysis. Dialysis increases the life span but at the same time cause other serious complications. One can even opt for going for a transplant on finding a donor. Kidney transplant provides for a longer expectancy than a dialysis but finding a matching donor takes time and effort. One can be on dialysis till the time he/she finds a donor. Dialysis is a safe procedure and can be carried out at the comfort of your home. Dialysis patients can live normal lives except for the time needed for treatments. It makes the patient feel better as it reduces the problems caused by kidney failure. Once the patient get used to the procedure, it becomes part of normal life routine.

Side effects of dialysis

Significant yet unpleasant comes with dialysis. Some of the common symptoms of dialysis are nausea, vomiting, cramps, dizziness, and constant fatigue. Patients who undergo dialysis have to follow a restricted diet that excludes cheese, oranges, and tomatoes. The process takes a long time and has to be carried out thrice a weak which makes it little complicated. People who work find it difficult and tedious. Constant dialysis poses a risk to other body organs like heart, lungs, and bones.

Kidney dialysis is constant process carried out for patients who are suffering from end stage kidney diseases. It’s a safe procedure that increases the life expectancy of the kidney failure patients.

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