Dialysis - Experience

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What is dialysis?

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood. Dialysis is a procedure that is a substitute for many of the normal duties of the kidneys. The kidneys are two organs located on either side of the back of the abdominal cavity. Dialysis can allow individuals to live productive and useful lives, even though their kidneys no longer work adequately. Statistics from 2007 showed approximately 389,000 patients were reveiving dialysis in the United states. At the end of 2009, more than 871,000 people were being treated for end stage renal disease.

Dialysis helps the body by performing the functions of failed kidneys. The kidney has many roles. An essential job of the kidney is to regulate the body's fluid balance. It does this by adjusting the amount of urine that is excreted on a daily basis. On hot days, the body sweats more. Thus, less water needs to be excreted through the kidneys. On cold days, the body sweats less. Thus, urine output needs to be greater in order to maintain the proper balance within the body. It is the kidney's job to regulate fluid balance by adjusting urine output.

Another major duty of the kidney is to remove the waste products that the body produces throughout the day. As the body functions, the cells use energy. The operation of the cells produces waste products that must be removed from the body. When these waste products are not removed adequately, they build up in the body. An elevation of waste products, as measured in the blood, is called "azotemia." When waste products accumulate they, cause a sick feeling throughout the body called "uremia."

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See what others are saying

Comment from: suzeeonline, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I have been on dialysis for about 2.5 years this time. Lately I have been experiencing restlessness and drop in blood pressure. I start to sweat and feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin.

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Comment from: HemoKid, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 29

I am 69 and was on peritoneal dialysis (PD) for almost 5 years. I kept getting exit site infections annually until it was decided to take me off PD. Apparently peritoneal infections gradually reduce the effectiveness of PD. Anyway, for the past six months I have been on hemodialysis. I was able to work full time until employer decided 3 hours off per week was excessive and I was let go. I had not taken time off since 1995. I was about to retire anyway and was able to negotiate a severance package. Now that I am not working I find it more manageable. I don't have to bother with solution shipments, hooking up, unhooking up, power outages caused by storms, etc. I simply sit in a lounge chair and let the technicians do their magic. I read a book or watch TV, or do the crossword/Sudoku. I let the technicians do their work. My results seem to be very good. I was on a transplant list for many years and my cardiac clearance resulted in triple bypass. A prostate biopsy found a small cancer and after reviewing my options with radiologists and urologists, I decided to take a pass. I'm simply tired of surgery. I vote for hemodialysis.

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