Many people suffer from advanced stage kidney disease. When your kidneys no longer filter your blood properly, you are basically left with two options: a kidney transplant, or dialysis. Because organs for transplant are so scarce, many people find that dialysis is their only option. Others take dialysis while being on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.
While there are different types of dialysis, the purpose is the same, to remove waste from the body that is accumulating due to the kidney's inability to do so. The type of dialysis discussed here is known as hemodialysis. First, patients are given an access point for the dialysis machine to connect to their bloodstream. This involves creating a connection between an artery and a vein so that blood can travel into the dialysis machine, and then be returned to your bloodstream once it has been cleaned. Inside the dialysis machine, a fluid called dialysate, a combination of pure water and specifically calculated chemicals, is used along with a semi-permeable membrane to separate and dispose of waste, while allowing everything else our body needs to be returned to the bloodstream.
Dialysis is required for 3-4 hours, several times a week depending on your blood test results. The process of dialysis can cause many problems including critically low blood pressure, so careful monitoring by a nursing team is required to prevent and treat complications.
Justin Glaze is an LPN and contributing columnist for the Walker County Messenger. He can be reached at 678-988-1011 or email@example.com.