What is Dialysis

In the human anatomy, kidneys play a very vital and responsible role in maintaining the health by filtering all the waste elements from blood and purify the same. The purification is done by flushing out the impurities through urine and regulates the fluid balance of the body. These are the basic functions of kidney without which the human body loses its equilibrium and becomes difficult for normal living. So what if these kidneys are, either not functioning properly or reach to the level of getting failed completely? This is where Dialysis comes into the role.

 

Dialysis is a medical process which serves as an alternate or temporary solution in cases of improper functioning of kidneys which leads to accumulation of waste products in the body. This implies that Dialysis does the role of kidneys by filtering the impurities from blood and regulates the body’s balance in fluids thereby stopping the blood from getting poisoned. It also helps in maintain a safe level of minerals in blood like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfate, chloride, sodium and calcium, which is originally done by the kidneys. Also, necessary medications are prescribed to patients undergoing dialysis, to replace hormones which are supposed to be produced by the kidneys.

 

Primarily the process of Dialysis is of two types namely Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis. Let’s take a brief look at both the types.

  • Hemodialysis is done through a machine called dialyzer which is often referred to as an artificial kidney, wherein the blood is passed through the dialyzer, gets filtered and infused back to the body.  For a person to take up this process there is a small surgical procedure done in the arm, which helps in creating an access of the needles to the blood cells, so that the blood is taken and passed through the filter of the dialyzer. In most cases, this process is repeated for thrice in a week and each process spans for around five hours. Hemodialysis can normally be done at a dialysis centre with the supervision of doctors and technicians holding specialized training in the field of dialysis.
  • Peritoneal dialysis on the other hand is done inside the human body itself using the peritoneal membrane, tissue that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity. This membrane has a rich blood supply and is large in size. A glucose solution called dialysate filled in a small tube called catheter is placed inside the abdomen with the help of a minor surgical procedure. This solution remains in the belly for 2-6 hours during when, purifies the blood and drains out the waste, extra fluids and chemicals through the catheter. This procedure can be followed either during the day or throughout the night using a cycling machine.

Apart from these primary types of dialysis, the only option left for a patient with failed kidneys is to go for kidney transplantation. The choice is yours which will have an effect on your diet, life style issues and finally your ability to work further.

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