Kidney failure, also known as renal failure is the second most common disease after cardiovascular diseases in the world. Patients diagnoses with kidney failure either acute or chronic seem too puzzled for going for the option of dialysis. The need for dialysis in relation to kidney failure is highlighted as a question that
- either a kidney patient must go for dialysis?
- or he can survive without it?
- or kidney failure can be treated with medications or not?
- will I spend rest of my life with dialysis?
These queries scare the patient. Further, more improper guidance from the health care system sometimes leads to life-threatening conditions. Here we are presenting all the key facts behind the need for dialysis for kidney patients with all of its aspects to satisfy the mind of readers
Kidney: A Vital organ in the human body
Kidney plays a very essential role in our life. Some most important functions are described below
- Help in the removal of excess water and toxins through urination
- Produce some hormones like
- Regulate blood pressure to maintain Ph of Body
- Filter the blood like a sieve and remove all harmful and excess substance from it
When the kidney gets damaged, their normal functioning gets disturbed. If this damage continues to proceed, it will result in permanent kidney failure Or in other words kidney stop to work at permanent bases
Kidneys can be damaged directly or indirectly by underlying health problems. Most common of them are
- High blood pressure
Both these diseases damage the kidney to a greater extent. This disease indirectly affect kidneys and cause hindrance in their normal functioning to lead to a troubling situation
How does the kidney respond to its damage?
Nature gives a very perfect mechanism of working. A kidney can cope up with the damage to a smaller extent lets us know how?
We know that we have a pair of kidneys. When one kidney starts to get damaged and its functioning becoming less. The other kidney automatically increases its efficiency to filter the blood. It increases its mass called Hypertrophy so the overall body does not face any troubling condition. That’s how nature provides us with a safety mechanism.
Where do the troubles begin?
Now as far as one kidney is functional, it bears all the pressure and maintains the normal physiology of the body. Trouble begins when this single functional kidney gets damage. It starts to disturb all the processes being carried by the kidneys. This is the points when the patient gets symptoms and make complaints like
- Less urine
- Swelling of a leg due to accumulation of fluid in the body
- Shortness of breath
Why dialysis is needed?
When a patient visits a physician and tells the symptoms. He is suggested to have a blood and urine test. If creatinine and urea level that was previously filtered by kidneys appears so high then it indicates kidney damage. firstly physician tries to manage it with medications. When the situation seems out of control then dialysis is recommended.
Dialysis is required to remove all those harmful substances from the blood that was previously removed by the kidneys. Dialysis takes over the function of a kidney to save the patient’s life.
What is dialysis?
Dialysis can be defined as a process of removing and eliminating excess water, ions, and toxic substance from the blood. It filters the blood in the same way as the kidney does.
How dialysis is performed?
Dialysis is performed by an equipment name Hemodialyzer or artificial kidney. Blood from the patient’s body is passed through the hemodialyzer where it gets filter and then returns to the patient body.
Type of dialysis:
There are two main types of dialysis
It further has sub types:
It has further sub types i.e
- Intestinal dialysis
Which type of dialysis is most effective?
Peritoneal dialysis improved to the most effective type of dialysis. It can retain kidney function to a slighter extent. it is preferred over hemodialysis. However, trained staff is required for this process.
Duration of dialysis:
Normally it takes 4 to 6 hours to complete dialysis.
Frequency of dialysis:
As a general rule, dialysis needs to be performed 3 times a week. It also depends on the patient’s condition and may reduce to two times a week.
Risk Of dialysis:
Major Risk associated with dialysis are
The alternative option of dialysis:
Kidney transplant is the only alternative method of dialysis especially when the patient is suffering from chronic renal failure. Kidney transplant is a long term effective procedure and successful in 80 percent of patients. However it has its own risks and complications like a rejection of the organ by the body, expensive process & donor’s matching
In acute renal failure, there is some possibility of kidneys to become functional again. Diet and medications can control it.
Is Dialysis continues throughout the Life?
You cannot skip your dialysis. Sudden withdrawal from dialysis also results in death. Once you start dialysis, you cannot leave it. It becomes essential for your survival. Think of life without dialysis is like to think life without dialysis which is impossible, Therefore individual suffer from chronic renal failure has to carry his rest of life with dialysis.
Is it painful?
Not much. Dialysis itself not cause any pain. But needles used in hemodialysis or catheter that insert During peritoneal dialysis can hurt a little. This pain is bearable. After some time it stops to hurt you.
Dialysis is a life-saving process. It extends your life and improves the quality of life. It is the most common method of treating people with kidney failure.
A student of Pharm D from University of Karachi. She has keen interest in all the attributes towards pharmacy especially community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy with an objective to make medications sound and safe. She loves to provide information about Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmacology in a best way so people with no medical background can understand.