What is Kidney Dialysis?
Kidneys are of great importance in the human body. Approximately, 1500 liters of blood gets filtered every day by the kidneys of a healthy person. When kidneys are not working properly, accumulation of waste material takes place in the blood. This may result in coma and death if the kidney damage is severe.
With the help of kidney dialysis, kidneys of the patients can start working again. This involves removal of excess body fluids and wastes from the blood of the patients. Levels of electrolytes can also be stored with the help of kidney dialysis. It also aids in controlling blood pressure.
Significance of dialysis
For the patients with kidney failure, dialysis is of great importance. It helps these patients enough but as good as normal kidneys. Patients under dialysis need to be cautious about the diet they are having along with medications. With dialysis treatment, many patients can lead the normal life and can work as well as travel wherever there is an availability of dialysis – treatment. Women with dialysis can have troubles in becoming pregnant. High levels of waste products in the body compared to normal kidneys can be present even after dialysis process. This is not suitable for fertility. In the case of women who
become pregnant during dialysis process need increased dialysis most of the time. In female patients with successful kidney transplant fertility return to normal in general. The process of dialysis can also have some effects on the fertility of male, but comparatively less than fertility in a female.
Why is Kidney dialysis required?
Kidney failure is a major condition where kidney dialysis is mandatory. Symptoms of kidney failure vary from patient to patient. It is not easy to diagnose kidney failure due to different kinds of symptoms. These symptoms include tiredness, itchy skin, breathing problems, the presence of proteins in urine, the presence of blood in urine, the frequent need of urination in the nighttime, nausea, swollen feet and hands, water retention and erectile dysfunction. Measurement of two important blood chemical levels i.e. “creatinine level” and “blood urea nitrogen” (BUN) is carried out by doctors to determine the necessity of
kidney dialysis. The rise in the levels of these two chemicals is an indication of reduced ability of kidneys to filter the waste materials.
Risk factors for Kidney dialysis
Risk factors are the conditions which increase the need for kidney dialysis by causing kidney failure. Listed below are the conditions which lead to kidney failure where kidney dialysis is required.
- High blood pressure
- Blood vessel disease
Side effects of Kidney dialysis
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry and itchy skin
- Muscle cramping
- Restless leg syndrome
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Sleep apnea
- Fluctuations in mood
Precautions for combating kidney dialysis side effects
Precautions for combating the side effects of Kidney dialysis are discussed below for each side effect.
Nausea and vomiting
If there is dizziness or nausea during dialysis process, adjustments can be done in the levels of fluid removal in the dialysis machine. While undergoing the process of dialysis, patients need to take medications for high pressure with the advice of doctors. In some patients, nausea and vomiting become severe and interrupt the process of dialysis. Timely reporting of nausea symptoms is very important. For treating these conditions, doctors give anti-nausea medications and can regulate the fluid removal in a better way.
Itching of skin
Build up of phosphorous and potassium in the body lead to itchy skin. For preventing this, intake of phosphorous and potassium needs to be reduced from the diet. Consuming phosphorous binder before meals can help in this case. The combination of standard moisturizers and non-drying soaps can be useful for preventing itching of the skin. Lotions with fragrance need to be avoided as they can be responsible for making the skin more sensitive. Hot showers need to be avoided since they too can elevate dryness of the skin.
Uncomfortable and painful muscle cramps can be experienced by the patients undergoing dialysis process. Most frequently this pain is experienced in the lower legs pf the patients. Stretching of muscles and use of hot pack is useful in reducing pain and discomfort in few minutes. In some patients, prescription medications are required for treatment of recurrent muscle cramps.
Restless Leg Syndrome
One more side effect of kidney dialysis is Restless leg syndrome (RLS). Patients with RLS can experience itchiness, discomfort, and tingling. Due to these sensations, patients move or kick out their legs all of a sudden. These motions help is relieving the symptoms temporarily. Home remedies, such as warm baths, exercise and massage can be used for the treatment of RLS.
Low blood pressure
Fluid recommendations given by surgeon need to be followed for limiting the risks associated with dialysis-related low blood pressure. Low blood pressure is a commonly seen side effect of dialysis.
In cases where excess fluid is removed during the process of dialysis, it is advised to avoid salty foods which can make the patients extra thirsty.
It is very essential for the patients undergoing dialysis process to have medical ID with them to avoid any complications. During an emergency, knowledge of health condition and side effects associated with can help alert the first responders for getting proper care/treatment.
Sleep apnea or disturbances in the sleeping pattern can be experienced by the patients after dialysis as a result of skin itching, breathing problems and restless legs.
Fluctuations in mood
Another side effect of dialysis process is fluctuations in the mood of the patients. Doctors can prescribe medications for this condition post dialysis so that patients feel better. Mood swings can also be improved with counseling and moral support of family members and close friends.
It is an essential to get rid of waste materials from the human body. Normally, kidneys do this job very well where the health of the patient is fine. When kidneys get failed, this waste gets accumulated in the body which is very risky and lead to various complications. To cure this, kidney dialysis is carried out with the help of dialysis machine. Patients can live well normally after dialysis. Even if dialysis is not giving good results similar to normal kidneys, patients feel better after dialysis comparatively.
Renuka Agrawal is certified in home health aide from Healthcare sector. She possesses proficient knowledge about various health related issues, diseases, and treatments.