Think of your home and see it in all its glory. If you want it to be spick-and-span it would require cleaning every day, taking out the trash etc. etc. But what were to happen if you just let it go or run out of cleaning aides. The answer would be to bring in outside help, failing that your home will go from glory to gory in no time.
Our bodies pretty much work on the same principle. We have been provided kidneys that perform the cleaning ritual for our permanent home (our body). They filter the blood removing waste, toxins, extra fluid and send it to the waste box (bladder) for disposal. In that context, dialysis becomes the external help for cleansing when the kidneys cannot perform its functions for any reason like failure or injury. Usually, when the function failure ranges between 80-90% it indicates the time for dialysis.
So, dialysis is the procedure wherein the blood is purified by use of an external machine. As you can well imagine this is a time taking and expensive (in long run) procedure. However, simply it is a necessary evil if one wants to survive after kidney failure, at least till a person gets a kidney transplant.
There are 3 types of dialysis:
Haemodialysis: In this type, the blood is filtered outside the body. The patient is connected to a dialysis machine, which has access to the bloodstream (a minor surgery is done giving access to your vein before all types of dialysis). The blood is filtered outside in like an artificial kidney, and then the filtered blood is put back in the body. This procedure is among the common ones and can be performed at home also.
Peritoneal Dialysis: This is the second common procedure and can also be performed at home. In this, the filtering of blood takes place inside the body. In this, a catheter is inserted into the lower abdomen along with a solution called dialysate, which perform filtering of the blood. After filtering it passes the waste.
Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy: This is performed only in hospitals for people with severe kidney failure. Blood is passed through tubes with the aid of a machine.
Earlier I called dialysis a necessary evil, well the procedure opens one to risks of:
• Low blood pressure
• Muscle weakening
• Can lead to high blood sugar and others
However, despite these risks and some others, it is essential. A kidney transplant is not feasible for everyone, in which case dialysis aids many. It not just removes waste and maintains levels of fluid, but it also helps maintain the chemical levels of potassium and sodium. It also aids to control blood pressure. On the bright side, dialysis doesn’t have to be lifelong. In some cases, it is only required temporarily until your kidney’s kick back in.
Some considerations that can help one are restricting liquid levels, and potassium and sodium levels. Beyond that, in an only, clean and healthy home will your glorious future reside.