If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease or kidney failure, your doctor might recommend hemodialysis for treatment. When your kidneys no longer function properly, hemodialysis, also simply known as dialysis, helps by clearing waste and excess fluids from your blood. Dialysis is the most common treatment for kidney failure and has many benefits that can assist people to live longer and healthier lives.
What Is Hemodialysis and How Does It Work?
If you and your doctor decide that hemodialysis is right for you, you’ll need to start preparing for treatment at least several weeks before your first procedure. The most important part of the preparation process involves a procedure to create a vascular access point on your body. This allows for blood to be safely removed and returned to your circulation as part of the dialysis process. Most access points are created on an arm, as they provide the easiest and safest points of entry. The access point needs time to heal before you begin treatment.
During the dialysis procedure, two tubes are connected to the patient via the vascular access point. The blood travels through one tube and is filtered through the dialyzer where excess waste and fluids are removed before returning to the patient’s body via the other tube. The process effectively replicates the functions of healthy kidneys and is beneficial for most patients with renal diseases.
Most hemodialysis treatments are performed at either hospitals or dialysis clinics, but home dialysis is also an option. You and your doctor will develop a treatment plan that includes which location is best for your needs.
Dialysis treatments are needed three times a week. Each treatment usually lasts between 3-5 hours. Patients receiving home hemodialysis may choose to do treatments 4-7 days a week but with shorter sessions.
In between treatments, it’s important to follow a hemodialysis diet to help you get the most benefits from dialysis. A hemodialysis diet should be rich in protein, calcium, and carbohydrates while limiting the intake of phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and fluids.
Advantages of Hemodialysis
Patients receiving dialysis usually notice health benefits very quickly after starting treatment. Some of the main benefits of hemodialysis include:
Potential Risks and Disadvantages of Hemodialysis
Although hemodialysis has many benefits, like any medical treatment, it also has potential risks that might not make it the best treatment option for everyone. Some potential risks and disadvantages of hemodialysis include:
Dialysis Treatments with Milwaukee Nephrologists
Although there are some disadvantages, you don't have to stop living a normal life because of hemodialysis treatments. The staff at Milwaukee Nephrologists work to provide accessible dialysis treatments to prioritize patients’ quality of life above all else. If you’re living with kidney disease and are wondering if dialysis is right for you, contact Milwaukee Nephrologists today for a consultation.