Dialysis is a medical procedure used to treat people who have kidney failure. The kidneys are in charge of filtering waste from the blood and balancing the various components in the blood. When the kidneys do not operate properly, waste materials and excess fluid accumulation in the body cause health issues.
For individuals with kidney failure, dialysis can be a lifesaving treatment that helps keep them healthy and functioning. Along with its numerous advantages, there are also risks to consider. Being on dialysis can require a significant lifestyle change. It is critical to understand the precautions to take to be healthy and safe during your treatments. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your dialysis experience is as smooth and healthy as possible.
Symptoms of kidney failure
- Tiredness and weakness: When your kidneys stop functioning perfectly, you may experience fatigue and weakness.
- Swelling: Your body's ability to retain fluid might result in swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet.
- Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting might occur as waste product buildup in your body.
- Appetite loss: You may not feel like eating because you are sick or your body fails to process food properly.
- Itching: Itching may occur as waste items collect in your skin.
- Urinary Changes: You may notice that you are urinating less frequently, or that your urine is black or frothy.
- Back or side pain: You may feel pain in your kidneys, which are located in your lower back.
- Confusion or changes in mental function: Waste products in your blood can lead to confusion or changes in mental function.
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Procedure of dialysis
Dialysis is a technique that helps the kidneys perform their tasks when they are unable to do so on their own. The procedure involves the removal of waste and excess fluids from the blood as well as the balancing of electrolyte levels.
There are two main types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
Hemodialysis is the process of filtering waste and surplus fluids from the blood using a machine. Blood is withdrawn from the body, processed by a dialysis machine, and then returned to the body during the operation. Hemodialysis is usually done three times a week for three to four hours every time.
Peritoneal dialysis involves using the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) as a natural filter to remove waste and excess fluids from the blood. A dialysis solution is injected into the stomach via a catheter and flushed out after several hours during the procedure.
Side effects of dialysis
Kidney dialysis is a lifesaving treatment for people with end-stage kidney disease, but like any medical procedure, it can also have some side effects. Some common side effects of dialysis include:
- Low blood pressure: Dialysis can result in an abrupt reduction in blood pressure, which can cause dizziness, exhaustion, and even fainting.
- Muscle cramps: Muscle cramps are a common side effect of dialysis and can be caused by the removal of fluids and electrolytes during the procedure.
- Itching: Itching is a typical side effect of dialysis and can be triggered by waste product buildup in the bloodstream.
- Nausea and vomiting: Some people may experience nausea and vomiting during or after dialysis.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is a common side effect of dialysis and can also happen due to the strain on the body from the procedure and the loss of fluids and electrolytes.
- Headaches: Headaches can occur during or after dialysis and can also happen due to changes in fluid levels in the body.
- Infection: Dialysis can increase the risk of infection as it involves inserting a needle into the bloodstream.
- Anemia: Dialysis can cause anemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells, by removing red blood cells along with waste products from the bloodstream
Precautions for dialysis
- Keep Your Access Site Clean: Dialysis access sites are common in the arm, leg, or neck and can become infected if not properly cared for. Keep your access site clean and dry to limit the chance of infection. Avoid using harsh cleansers, lotions, or ointments near the locations.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids: Dialysis can help your body remove excess fluid and can dehydrate you. It is essential to consume enough fluids before and after dialysis sessions to avoid dehydration. Avoid drinking fluids high in sodium or potassium, such as sports drinks.
- Watch Your Diet: When you are on dialysis, your food has a crucial impact on your overall health and well-being. A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, complete grains, and lean protein. You should also avoid foods heavy in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
- Stay Active: Regular physical activity can help to improve your health and overall well-being while on dialysis. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes per day, and choose activities you enjoy, such as walking or yoga.
- Take Your Medications as Directed: If you are on dialysis, you may need to take several medications to keep your health in check. It is critical to take your meds exactly as prescribed and to keep track of any side effects.
- Get Regular Check-Ups: Visiting your doctor is essential for monitoring your health and making necessary changes to your treatment plan. You should also get regular blood tests to ensure that your electrolyte levels are stable and that your dialysis treatment is working.
[ Also check: Healthy Kidneys with Healthy Diet]
Dialysis is a treatment that can save a life if they have chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney problems. You must take care to ensure a safe and effective treatment experience. Some precautions include eating a strict diet, staying hydrated, looking for infection symptoms, testing for abnormalities regularly, and limiting physical activity. It is also critical to keep all appointments with your healthcare team and to keep them up to date on any changes or concerns.
[ Also check: Treating and Preventing Kidney Stones]