Dialysis

Dialysis

Healthy kidneys remove waste from your blood and produce hormones your body needs. If your kidneys fail, you either need a kidney transplant or dialysis. Dialysis is a procedure that uses a machine to perform many of the functions of the kidney. Dialysis can help prevent problems resulting from kidney failure and it allows people with kidney failure to live productive lives. Dialysis filters your blood, and like a health kidney, removes waste from your blood. Patients using dialysis are also required to follow a strict diet in order to stay healthy. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. There are different advantages and disadvantages with both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Talk to your doctor about which type of dialysis would work better for you.

Recently Answered

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    Muscle cramping can cause extreme discomfort to many people who are on dialysis. Since the cause of this side effect is unknown, the issue can only be addressed symptomatically. Doctors advise either stretching the cramping muscle to release the pain or applying hot packs to the affected area in order to increase circulation. Some medications may help, but these should be discussed with your doctor.
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    Restless leg syndrome is a common side effect of dialysis that causes people to keep moving their legs as a result of the leg nerves and muscles creating a crawly or prickly sensation. Restless leg syndrome can be tied to some forms of kidney disease, diabetes, hardening of the arteries or a vitamin B deficiency. It's important to speak to your doctor for a diagnosis and a prescription, which will address the specific cause.
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    Dry or itchy skin is experienced by many people undergoing dialysis, especially in the winter. Use soaps that don't dry out skin as much, such as Ivory soap, and plain moisturizing lotions, such as Vaseline or Eucerin. Take care to avoid fragrance lotions, which may sensitize the skin further. In some cases, itchy skin can escalate into eczema, a white, scaly, itchy thickening of the skin. Discuss eczema with your doctor, who can prescribe a topical medicine.
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    Nausea and vomiting are associated with kidney disease in general, but low blood pressure and excess fluid weight gain are also common causes. If you experience these symptoms during a dialysis treatment, inform the nurse, who can adjust the machine accordingly. If you're suffering from nausea at home, speak to your doctor about a prescription for anti-nausea medicine.
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    In order to avoid excess fluid weight gain when you are on dialysis, you should maintain a healthy fluid level by drinking no more than a quart of liquid in excess of what is discharged from the body daily. You should also avoid salty foods, which increase thirst. If you have gained excess fluid weight, discuss the issue with your dialysis team, who can adjust the dialyzing time accordingly.
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    Low blood pressure is the most common side effect of dialysis. It affects one out of four people at some point over the course of dialysis treatments. The two primary causes are gaining excess fluid weight between dialysis treatments and having a weak heart.
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    Many people on dialysis experience side effects of treatment. The most common side effects are:
    • Low blood pressure
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Dry or itchy skin
    • Restless leg syndrome
    • Muscle cramping
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    Hemodialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and extra fluid from your blood. The federal government's Medicare program covers the cost of home hemodialysis just as they do for dialysis in a hospital or other treatment center. However, Medicare will not cover the cost of a home health aide if you have no one who can be a care partner for you.
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    Now that doctors know more about how to treat kidney failure, people with the condition can live longer and have more active lives. Your overall health and how well you follow your treatment plan are important in how well you do. If you choose dialysis, it is important to get the right dose of dialysis. Studies have shown that people on dialysis do better and live longer when they get enough treatment. Your dialysis care team can measure how much dialysis you receive. This should be done on a regular basis to make sure treatments are cleaning enough wastes out of your blood.
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    If you are on dialysis, once you get used to the treatment, you should begin to feel better. The dialysis treatments will take over some of the work of your diseased kidneys and remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. This will improve many of your symptoms.  A successful kidney transplant may allow you to feel as close to the way you felt before you got kidney disease.