The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that located just below the rib cage in your body. Their function is to remove excess fluid and other waste from your body by filtering your blood. They also produce hormones that preserve your bone health and also makes your blood healthy.
They also maintain the right amount of minerals such as potassium and sodium in your blood. Eventually, they produce a hormone that helps to create red blood cells. So when your kidneys stop functioning, you require treatment to replace the functions of your kidneys.
What is Kidney Dialysis?
Your kidneys nearly filter 120 to 144 litres of blood everyday to remove wastes. If your kidneys stop filtering the blood, waste accumulates in your blood and this can lead to coma or death overtime. Dialysis is a process that performs the function of kidneys when they failed to do so. The National Kidney Foundation states that end-stage kidney failure happens when your kidneys fail to perform even 10 to 15% of their normal function.
In this process, the blood is filtered by using a machine. This helps to maintain your fluids and electrolytes levels in balance. Dialysis process has been using since the 1940s to treat people with kidney problems.
Dialysis is of three types and the aim of the procedures to filter your blood to remove harmful wastes, extra salt, and fluids.
- Peritoneal dialysis (PD)
- Continuous renal replacement therapies (CRRT)
Hemodialysis: Hemodialysis is common dialysis procedure preferred for most of the patients. The process involves an artificial kidney called hemodialyzer to remove wastages and extra fluids from the blood. The blood is routed to artificial kidneys for filtration and then returned to your body with the help of a dialysis machine.
Peritoneal dialysis: This is a procedure where your blood is filtered inside your body by placing an implant called peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter in your abdomen. The implanted catheter helps to purify the blood through a membrane in your abdomen called the peritoneum. During dialysis, a special fluid known as dialysate passes into the peritoneum. This fluid absorbs waste. After dialysate extracting waste out of your bloodstream, it is drained out of your abdomen.
This process might take a few hours and need to perform four to six times a day. There are different types of peritoneal dialysis and the common procedures are:
- Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)
- Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)
- Intermittent peritoneal dialysis (IPD)
Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT): This therapy is mostly suggested for people in the intensive care unit with acute kidney failure. It is also termed as hemofiltration. Your blood is passed into a machine through the tubing and then a filter removes wastage and fluids from the blood. After filtration, the blood is delivered back to the body, along with replacement fluid. Usually, CRRT is performed every day.
Are There Any Alternatives To Kidney Dialysis?
Of course, dialysis is a time-consuming process. Everyone might not choose dialysis unless if a person experiencing end-stage or acute kidney failure.
If some cases of the kidney, there are some alternative treatment options are available to manage the symptoms. Anaemia management is one among them and to help with an under-functioning kidney, the hormone erythropoietin(EPO) which is naturally produced in the is given through an injection of every week.
Maintaining good blood pressure and using some anti-inflammatory drugs can slow the degeneration of your kidney.
For some people, kidney transplantation is the best alternative if they find a donor. You might not be an ideal person for kidney transplantation if you have the habits of smoking, drinking alcohol heavily or if you are obese, having other health issues which will be explained by a kidney specialist doctor.