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Living With Kidney Failure: Everything You Should Know About Dialysis

Living With Kidney Failure: Everything You Should Know About Dialysis

Dialysis is a treatment that helps your kidneys when they are unable to function well. Your kidneys normally filter the wastes and extra fluids in your blood. If you or someone close to you is in need of this procedure, it is essential to know everything you need about it. Read on to learn more about dialysis.

What is dialysis?

When your kidneys are incapable of filtering your blood normally, this artificial treatment is needed to clear your blood of wastes and toxins before those are turned into urine.

When is it needed?

A person usually requires dialysis when they experience kidney failure. Kidney failure is commonly an effect of chronic kidney disease, which causes a gradual failure of your kidney function. Dialysis is needed once this failure disrupts your daily routines or living. By the time this treatment is required, only 10% of your kidney will be functioning.

What happens during dialysis?

This treatment is classified into 2 types.


The first is Hemodialysis, which is one method of treating advanced kidney failure.

This requires the use of a dialyser, or an artificial kidney. Blood is removed through a needle on your arm or leg, and filtered through the machine. Blood is then cycled back to your body after it is cleared. A person receiving this type of dialysis has to visit a treatment center several times a week, with 1 session lasting up to 4 hours.

Undergoing regular hemodialysis is a big responsibility but you will be assisted by your healthcare specialist. In some cases, this method may be done in your own home. Changes to your diet, constant medication, and a strict treatment schedule will also be needed.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal Dialysis makes use of the peritoneal membrane lining your abdomen. This type allows filtering to take place inside your body.

A small cut will be made near your belly button where a thin tube called a catheter will be inserted and left there permanently. This will be used during the treatment, when fluid is pumped into your peritoneal cavity. As blood passes through the vessels in the cavity, it will be rid of wastes and excess fluids, which will flow into the fluid that was pumped in.

Foods Good for Kidney: Taking Care of Kidney Health

When is dialysis recommended?

A visit to your doctor would help determine if you are in need of dialysis. Some factors that your health care provider would consider are the following:

  • Your overall health
  • Current kidney function
  • Possible symptoms of kidney failure

Some symptoms of kidney failure that you should look out for are nausea, fatigue, and vomiting.

Once you’ve also experienced some of these common causes, a consultation with your healthcare provider should be considered. The common causes of kidney failure include:

  • Polycystic kidney disease or kidney cysts
  • Kidney or blood vessel inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Risks and complications

Since dialysis involves the insertion of needles and tubes, people who are undergoing this treatment have a higher chance of getting an infection. The immune system is also weakened during dialysis.

Receiving hemodialysis also may cause you to experience the following:

  • Anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Itchy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Depression
  • Potassium levels increase
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blockage, inflammation, or infection of blood vessel wall

When you start experiencing these, let your healthcare provider or specialist know so they can help you cope.

Key takeaway

Even though the procedure can has some risks and may cause complications, consulting your specialist will help you determine what treatment is best. The goal of undergoing dialysis is to help you bounce back to your daily activities. A lot of people who have experienced this treatment have had the chance to live a good and active life.

Learn more about Medical Procedures and Surgeries here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Dialysis – NHS (www.nhs.uk), https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dialysis/

Accessed March 26, 2021


Dialysis | Hemodialysis | Peritoneal dialysis | MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/dialysis.html

Accessed March 26, 2021


Hemodialysis – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hemodialysis/about/pac-20384824

Accessed March 27, 2021


Dialysis | healthdirect, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dialysis

Accessed March 27, 2021


Dialysis Safety | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/dialysis/index.html

Accessed March 27, 2021


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Written by Red Ricafort Updated May 04
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel