What to Know About Kidney Dialysis

May 7th 2016

Kidney dialysis treatments are extremely beneficial to individuals with kidney disease and those who are at risk for kidney failure. Risk factors for developing kidney disease include a history of diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of kidney disease. While kidney disease cannot be reversed, early detection allows for prompt treatment, which in turn can often slow or halt the progression of the illness.

Types of Kidney Dialysis

The two most commonly utilized types of kidney dialysis are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. During hemodialysis treatments, patients are connected to external dialysis machines via a catheter that is inserted into a blood vessel. The blood is then filtered through the machine, and returned to the body via the catheter.

During a peritoneal dialysis treatment, a special solution is inserted into the abdomen via a catheter. The fluid remains in the abdominal area for a specified amount of time, referred to as the dwell time. The fluid works to pull out wastes and toxins. When the dwell time period concludes, the built-up fluids are then flushed out of the body.

Side Effects of Kidney Dialysis

Side effects of kidney dialysis can vary, depending on the specific type of treatment administered and the individuals' specific reactions. Side effects of hemodialysis may include low blood pressure, severe itching of the skin, iron-deficiency anemia and sleep disturbances. Side effects of peritoneal dialysis commonly include weight gain and bloating due to the excess fluid in the abdomen.

Dialysis Outcomes

The overall outcomes of dialysis treatments can vary from person to person. Although the treatment does not cure kidney disease, it can greatly improve kidney function. In many cases, dialysis treatments help keep patients healthy while awaiting kidney transplants. While the average life expectancy for lifelong dialysis patients is between five and 10 years, there are cases in which dialysis patients live healthy lives for up to 30 years.


When the kidneys do not function properly due to disease or acute kidney failure, the body cannot effectively filter out wastes and toxins from the blood. Kidney dialysis treatments work as artificial kidneys to clean the blood and balance out kidney function. Depending on the specific reason for kidney dialysis, individuals may require temporary or lifelong treatments.

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