Kidneys of humans play a major role to filter waste products present in the blood. Dialysis refers to a treatment procedure and is a substitute for a large number of regular functions performed by kidneys. The functions performed by dialysis include:
Regulating Fluid Balance- Dialysis performs most of the functions of a person’s failed kidneys. Particularly, it performs the prime job of regulating the fluid balance of a person. Dialysis prime functions at a glance are-
Waste Removal- Removal of wastes, extra water and salt to prevent them to form in our body
Maintaining Balance: Maintain a safe level of various chemicals in the blood, which include potassium, phosphorous and sodium bicarbonate.
Regulating B.P – Helps in controlling the blood pressure.
When Patients Require Dialysis?
Kidney failure patients require the process of dialysis when accumulation of waste products in the body reaches to such a high level that they usually fall sick from them. Level of the waste products builds up in humans in a slow manner.
Because of this, doctors measure different levels of blood chemicals to decide the situation when patients require dialysis process. Particularly, nephrologists judge the requirement of dialysis process based on blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels. Rise in both of these levels or any one of the two indicate the reducing ability of kidneys to cleanse the waste products from the body of a person. Dialysis may be of two different types-
Hemodialysis for Patients with Kidney Failure
Hemodialysis for patients with kidney failure utilizes a special filter referred to as hemodialyzer for the removal of excessive waste products, chemicals and waste water/fluid from the patient’s blood. To get the blood into hemodialyzer, doctors have to create an access or an entrance in to the blood vessels. For this, they perform a minor surgery in the legs or arms. Alternatively, doctors create access by simply joining an artery of a patient to a vein present beneath the skin to create a big blood vessel referred as fistula. On the other side, the doctors may even utilize a soft tube of plastic for joining a vein and an artery present below the skin called as graft.
Peritoneal Dialysis for Patients with Kidney Failure
In peritoneal dialysis for patients with kidney failure, doctors perform a surgery to place a catheter i.e., a plastic tube in the belly/abdomen of a patient to create an access. During the dialysis process, the catheter fills dialysate into the peritoneal cavity or abdominal area in a slow manner. Blood will stay in veins and arteries, while dialysate draws additional fluid and waste products out from the blood.
How Long Can You Live With Kidney Failure On Dialysis?
If your kidneys failed permanently, you have to undergo with dialysis treatments for your entire life until and unless you succeed to get a kidney donor for kidney transplantation. Even if the transplanted kidney fails to adjust with your body, you have to continue with dialysis treatment. Life expectancy of people dealing with dialysis may vary depending on medical conditions and the way, in which patients follow the treatment plan.
According to nephrologists, average life expectancy of patients with kidney failure dealing with dialysis ranges from 5 years to 10 years. However, there are many patients, who succeeded to live in a well manner even by undergoing dialysis treatment for 20 to 30 years. Life expectancy with dialysis may even vary depending primarily on underlying medical conditions and expected reduction in the survival rate because of age.
Undoubtedly, kidney failure patients on dialysis deal with a large number of physical and emotional side effects, which include infections, anemia, headaches, nausea, low blood pressure, cramps, depression and appetite loss. These are real side effects and last for lifetime. However, none of the side effects or medical challenges forms a barrier to well being of a person going through the dialysis process.