Other than getting a kidney transplant, the current form of treatment is dialysis. Dialysis does the following:
- Removes waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in your blood
- Keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood
- Helps to control blood pressure
There are 2 forms of dialysis treatment:
- Peritoneal dialysis
What is Hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis is a method of purifying the blood of poisons and excess fluids that have accumulated when the kidneys have failed to function properly. In hemodialysis, a dialysis machine and a special filter called an artificial kidney, or a dialyzer, are used to clean your blood.
During this process, the blood flows across one side of cellophane sheets, or inside tubes of cellophane or fibers; a special fluid or “bath” (dialysate) flows across the other side of the membrane. To get your blood into the dialyzer, the doctor needs to make an access, or entrance, into your blood vessels. Most patients receive 3 treatments each week. Each treatment lasts from 2 to 4 hours.
Your diet as a hemodialysis patient is probably one of the most important factors in your treatment program and is a significant factor relative to how well you will feel.
What is Peritoneal Dialysis?
Peritoneal Dialysis uses the inside lining of your own abdomen as a natural filter to cleanse your blood. A surgeon places a soft tube called a catheter in your abdomen. A cleansing fluid called dialysate travels through this tube into your abdomen. Wastes and extra water pass into this dialysate fluid from your blood. After several hours, you remove this fluid from your abdomen through the same tube and start the cleansing process again.
Can dialysis patients continue with regular activities?
Some limitations will be necessary, but most activities can continue as usual, providing nothing is overdone or dangerous to your health.
However, you will not have as much energy as before the onset of kidney failure. Your doctor should be consulted about any strenuous activity.