Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for those with kidney failure condition
Dialysis is an artificial process by which the wastes and unwanted water is removed from the blood. Dialysis is recommended for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition when kidneys fail to function properly. On average, kidneys filter 1500 liters of blood each day. If kidneys fail to perform properly, it may lead to accumulation of toxins or drugs in the blood, and may cause coma and death.
TYPES OF DIALYSIS
There are two types of dialysis – Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. During hemodialysis, the blood drawn from one catheter is sent to dialysis machine for filtration. Another catheter returns the blood after purifying it. During Peritoneal dialysis the natural filtering ability of peritoneum is utilized. The lining of the abdomen is used to filter waste products from the blood.
A sterile (dialysate) solution is used to absorb waste products, which are drained through a tube. The choice of dialysis, hemo or peritoneal depends on the length of the dialysis process. In some, who may require dialysis in the long-term, peritoneal dialysis is recommended. Also, peritoneal dialysis is advised for elderly people, babies and children who may find hemodialysis as too exhausting, and may require attending school or work.
PREPARING FOR DIALYSIS
Dialysis process has witnessed the introduction of new and innovative technology, that has made the process smooth and easy for patients of chronic kidney disease. As a first step, a tube or device is inserted to gain access to the patient’s bloodstream, after which the patient can return home the same day. The doctor’s instructions need to be followed viz. putting on comfortable clothing and fasting for certain time before dialysis.
RISKS OF DIALYSIS
Both peritoneal and hemodialysis may have some complications. Peritoneal dialysis may pose the risk of infections in and around the catheter site of the abdominal cavity. Abdominal weakening, high blood sugar and weight gain are also some unique risks associated with peritoneal dialysis.
The complications of hemodialysis include, low blood pressure, anemia, muscle cramps, sleep difficulties, itching, high blood potassium levels, depression and Pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart).
Amyloidosis is a complicated condition seen in people undergoing dialysis on long-term basis. Amyloid proteins produced in the bone marrow builds up in the kidneys, liver, heart and other organs leading to joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
CAN DIALYSIS REPLACE KIDNEYS?
Dialysis is an artificial process that helps in removal of waste products and excess water from the blood. Its role can never be equated with that of kidneys. Some of the major points of difference are diet restriction that needs to be followed by those on dialysis, and lesser scope of pregnancy in women undergoing dialysis. Kidneys produce erythropoietin and calcitriol as part of the endocrine system, which is not produced during dialysis.
Dialysis is a temporary treatment process carried out until kidneys gain the capability to work on their own. During chronic kidney failure condition, the chances of complete kidney recovery are very bleak. So, dialysis may have to be continued till kidney transplant is done successfully.