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

  • 1 Answer
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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.
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    Peritoneal dialysis might be a good choice if you:
    • live far from a clinic or have no reliable transportation to a dialysis center
    • are working or are in school
    • like to travel
    • prefer to be in control of your treatment
    • fear needles
    • are expecting a transplant soon
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    If you have kidney failure that requires hemodialysis, an access to your bloodstream will be needed. One type of access, called a catheter, is inserted into a large vein in your neck or chest. The ends of the tubes sit on your skin outside your body. This type of access is recommended for temporary access. A catheter can be used immediately after placement. Catheters are used as a permanent access when a fistula or a graft cannot be placed.
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    If you have kidney failure that requires hemodialysis, an access to your bloodstream will be needed. If your blood vessels are not suitable for a fistula, a graft may be used. This involves joining an artery and nearby vein with a small, soft tube made of synthetic material. The graft is entirely beneath your skin.
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    If you choose hemodialysis, you need to have a permanent access, or entrance, to your bloodstream. This is done with minor surgery, usually to your arm. There are three different types of access:
    • fistula
    • graft
    • catheter
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    There are a number of disadvantages to hemodialysis at a dialysis center:
    • Treatment day and times are scheduled by the center.
    • You must travel to the center at least three times weekly.
    • Other people are doing dialysis at the same time, so you have less privacy.
    • Loved ones may worry if they can't be with you during treatment.
    • There may be rules against eating and drinking while on dialysis.
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    There are a number of advantages to hemodialysis at a dialysis center:
    • Trained staff perform all aspects of treatment. (You may be able to do some things yourself like insert the needles.)
    • Since other people are dialyzing at same time, friendships may develop.
  • 1 Answer
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    There are a number of disadvantages to home hemodialysis:
    • Space in the home needs to be dedicated to the machine, water system (if needed) and supplies.
    • A dialysis partner must be present while you are on dialysis.
    • Both you and your dialysis partner must take time off work or regular routine to attend training.