Why we need Kidney Dialysis

November 12, 2012

Why we need Kidney Dialysis

Our kidneys filter the waste from our blood naturally but whenever we have a problem with the kidneys this process must be done artificially. The name given to this process is dialysis or kidney dialysis. If a kidney does not function because of damage or illness then that lack of renal function must be carried out artificially by a dialysis machine. Kidney dialysis can be used for patients who have temporary or permanent loss of kidney function.

A healthy person’s kidneys control the amount of water and minerals in the body as well as removing waste products from the blood. Dialysis does not totally replace all of the kidneys functions. Erythropoietin and 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (calcitriol) are also produced by the kidneys as their role in the endocrine system. Using a kidney dialysis machine does not replenish or regulate chemicals within the endocrine system of failed kidneys. The main functions carried out by dialysis are fluid and waste products elimination.

Healthy kidneys in an average human being filter about 1,500 liters of blood every day and without this filtering process, whether by healthy kidneys or kidney dialysis, the human body would soon go into coma and then die. This is because the amount of toxins within the body would continue to grow until they reached a level whereby the body would effectively be poisoned.

Dialysis is also a tool used by doctors to quickly remove excess drugs or toxins from a body.

Different types of Dialysis

Dialysis comes in two types; peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis and the medical professionals decide which type of dialysis is most suitable for any particular patient. Research has been carried out showing that some patients respond better to one type of treatment compared to another.

  • Hemodialysis

This is best thought of as an external kidney being connected to the patient. A catheter is inserted into a vein where the blood leaves the body and goes into the hemodialysis machine where the blood is cleaned and then passed into another catheter which allows the clean blood to re-enter the patient’s body. The dialysis machine has filters which do the cleaning of the blood and it is normal for patients to have to be on the machine for 3 to 4 hours a week, but this depends on health related factors.

In the United Kingdom this treatment can be carried out in special units in hospital or at home. If the patient and their carer are willing to learn how to carry out the procedure then hemodialysis can be carried out at home. Other people who may be considered for home dialysis are those, whose condition is stable, and have suitable blood vessel for catheter insertion, do not have other diseases and have homes which can be adapted for the kidney dialysis machine.

  • Peritoneal Dialysis

This procedure involves inserting a mineral and glucose solution into the peritoneal cavity, which is also known as the abdominal body cavity. Peritoneal dialysis uses the body’s own natural filtering mechanism as it allows the fluid to pass through the peritoneum, the abdomens internal lining. The cleaning solution, or dialysate, is left within the body to absorb the toxins and is then drained. This procedure must be carried out a few times every day.

This procedure is not as efficient as hemodialysis but allows much more flexibility to the patient and less specialized medical equipment is required to be kept at home.

As with many things in life, the human body is more efficient than any substitute. This is the case too with kidney dialysis. The kidneys are more efficient than dialysis, however dialysis does enough to maintain a good quality of life for the patient. And by eating and drinking carefully and moderately the patient can assist the process.

Kidney failure can manifest itself in many ways such as blood in the urine, feelings of fatigue and tiredness, having itchy skin, being short of breath and water retention. Someone with a sudden injury can see any of these symptoms appear and develop rapidly.


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