The Ins and Outs of Undergoing Kidney Dialysis

May 7th 2016

Patients undergoing dialysis may be required to make adjustments to their personal lifestyle, diet and physical activity. It is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle and return to work while undergoing dialysis. Although most patients are advised to refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous activity, dialysis treatment does not have to interrupt normal routines or a person's ability to continue working and taking care of household responsibilities.

What Is the Purpose of Dialysis?

The purpose of kidney dialysis is to restore the body's levels of potassium, sodium and bicarbonate to a safe threshold. Individuals who undergo dialysis are injected with a special cleaning solution which assists in the waste removal process. Patients are then connected to a mechanism that circulates their blood through a special filtering device. This process is normally performed by the kidneys. Patients with renal failure who are not able to eliminate waste from their blood may otherwise develop severe blood toxicity that may cause coma and death.

How Does Dialysis Work?

Patients in need of dialysis, otherwise known as haemodialysis, are fitted with a vascular access point necessary for connecting the dialysis filtering machine to the body during each visit. Some patients may need a thin, plastic tube inserted into the neck or groin area for better access. During dialysis, the machine slowly drains the blood, filtering it for the removal of waste. Once the blood has been filtered, it is slowly returned to the patient's body. The process mimics the natural function of the kidneys.

How Long Is the Process?

The length of a dialysis session depends on the patient's overall health. Patients who have partially functional kidneys may not need to endure lengthy procedures. The amount of fluid a patient gains and waste accumulated in between treatments can also affect the length of the procedure. Additionally, body size and the type of artificial kidney used may affect the length of dialysis as well. Patients who opt for high-flux dialysis can benefit from shorter sessions. A medical professional determines the length and type of dialysis that best suits the patient's medical condition.

Conclusion

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment that helps filter toxins, excess fluids and waste from the blood. People who experience kidney failure no longer have the capability to eliminate waste from the blood because the kidneys are not functioning as they should. Individuals with diminished renal function may also benefit from blood dialysis. The process of dialysis can seem intimidating for many individuals, but knowing what to expect can lessen the worry and mentally prepare patients for the procedure.

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