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: Seajay, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 31

During dialysis I passed out. They took too much fluid off of me according to the doctor. I nearly always get cramps. My blood pressure drops drastically, 88/44 for example. That makes me shaky and dizzy, plus I feel terrible. It usually goes back to normal the next day. Blood pressure drops when I have a bowel movement also.

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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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