Dialysis is an important renal replacement therapy for treating kidney failure. It functions as an artificial kidney to remove excess water, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and other electrolytes and minerals as well as wasteful and toxic products after metabolism.
Dialysis is life-saving for end stage kidney failure because their kidneys can not function well, the toxins and wastes as well as other illness conditions will greatly affect their life quality and shorten their life span.
After the treatment of dialysis, high blood pressure will decrease, high creatinine and high BUN will decrease, swelling and fluid retention will be relieved and some life-threatening factors will be eliminated or reduced.
There are mainly two types of dialysis---hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis can help remove metabolic wastes and toxins from the blood, rectify water and electrolyte imbalances so as to purify the blood and sustain the patient’s life. Peritoneal dialysis is more suitable if the patient is older than 65 years old or if he has illness history of cardiovascular disease or heart failure, etc. Usually when illness progresses into stage 4 renal failure, nephrologist (kidney specialist) will ask the patient to prepare for dialsis treatment. He can have discussion with the patients and their families to decide which dialysis is more suitable and a fistula can be made if it is hemodialysis.
Dialysis usually prolong the patient’s life for about 5 years, however there are many dialysis patients that have survived for more than 5 years or even decades. Factors that affect curative effects of dialysis include age, complications such as high blood pressure, heart problem, diabetes, etc. Renal failure patients should have proper and regular exercises, have regular life habits, adequate nutrition supply, avoid over-tiredness, prevent colds and infections, etc.
Dialysis is one type of blood purification technology and at present there are more advanced blood purifications including hemofiltration, hemoperfusion, plasma exchange, immune adsorption which can be combined with dialysis to enhance the clearance rate and achieve better curative effects.
For those that have been on dialysis for years and have been suffering from the side effects and complications, a promising treatment called artificial kidney is on the study which holds hope for many dialysis patients.
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