The Basics of Dialysis and What you Can Expect
For people suffering from kidney failure or disease, dialysis can be used to help the body perform as it would with healthy kidneys. Essentially, dialysis keeps your body in balance by removing waste, maintaining a safe level of chemicals in the body, like potassium and sodium, and helps with keeping blood pressure under control.
What is Dialysis?
When your doctor explains to you that dialysis treatment will be necessary, it’s normal to have concerns or questions. In fact, many dialysis Florence patients contact Pee Dee Nephrology with questions on how the treatments work, what actually happens and how often dialysis is required.
Think of dialysis as a fluid mixture of water and chemicals that pulls all the waste, excess water and salt from your body while leaving all of the healthy chemicals your body needs to function properly. One of the most common concerns of treatment is if dialysis hurts. While you may have some discomfort, the dialysis treatment itself is generally painless.
When is Dialysis Required?
Healthy kidneys filter about 1,500 liters of blood through a person’s body each day. When your kidneys aren’t working as needed, waste and chemicals can begin to build up in your blood.
Patients typically need dialysis treatment when their kidneys no longer function as normal and their body begins to hold waste products, which can cause sickness. Kidney disease, however, does not necessarily mean dialysis is needed. Because stages of chronic kidney disease can last for several years, patients suffering from the disease may not need dialysis treatment right away.
If your kidney disease symptoms begin to worsen creating shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, the National Kidney Foundation recommends dialysis. Also, if your kidney function drops to 15% or less, this treatment is needed.
What to Expect From Dialysis Treatment
While dialysis certainly helps the body clear out toxins and allows you to live more comfortably, nothing can completely replace your kidneys. For this reason, you will need to speak with a dialysis Florence specialist who can tell you what and how much to eat and drink to coincide with your treatment plan.
Dialysis Florence treatments can last from about 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours. Pee Dee Nephrology staff will monitor you throughout the treatment, checking your blood pressure and ensuring the dialysis machine is operating properly. Often patients of nephrology Florence will watch television, sleep or read throughout the treatment.
Nephrology centers in Florence will likely explain that the probability of your kidneys getting better and you being able to discontinue dialysis depends on what caused your kidney failure. Those who suffer from acute kidney failure may actually experience a complete recovery as sudden kidney failure is often temporary. In chronic kidney failure, however, the kidneys do not normally heal and may require a long-term dialysis treatment plan.
Dialysis can let patients live productive and valuable lives, even though their kidneys no longer work adequately.