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Dialysis: When Do Kidneys Need it?

Dr. Prashant C Dheerendra 89% (28 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, DM - Nephrology
Nephrologist, Bangalore  •  15 years experience
Dialysis: When Do Kidneys Need it?

Kidneys are a pair of organs that are located on either side of the spine, each about a size of a fist. The kidneys help in purifying blood by removing toxins, waste materials and excess fluids from the human body. Disorders and dysfunctions of the kidney can lead to severe and often fatal consequences. When the kidneys stop functioning as they are supposed to, dialysis is performed to resume normal functioning in the body. 

Dialysis is a type of treatment, which filters and purifies the blood with the aid of a machine. It is an artificial way of purifying blood. There are two types of dialysis, namely hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis, the most common form of dialysis, which involves using a manmade kidney called a hemodialyzer, which removes toxins and waste materials from blood. 

Peritoneal Dialysis, on the other hand, is a type of treatment which involves implanting a catheter in the abdomen. During the procedure, a sterile fluid called dialysate flows into the abdomen that absorbs all the waste material, which is consequently drained out of the body. 

You may need a dialysis if: 

  1. Your kidneys are dysfunctional 
  2. When waste materials and toxins start to accumulate in the body and cause unwanted effects on your health 
  3. If the GFR (a measure of kidney function) level falls to 10-12 cc/minute 
  4. In an event where the kidneys aren't able to work properly leading to accumulation of toxins, irregular amounts of chemicals in the body and other dysfunctions 

Starting dialysis is a big decision and proper preparation with an AV fistula created well in time is important. When kidney failure is due to chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and nephritis then dialysis will be needed life long or till a kidney transplant is performed. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a nephrologist.

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