What is Dialysis and When Do I Need It?
What Is Dialysis?
Before you can understand what dialysis does, you must understand what kidneys do and how they function. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste substances and fluid from your blood. When your kidneys fail, they effectively stop filtering waste from blood. This is why dialysis is used to keep your body in balance. By removing waste, salt, and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body, dialysis machines essentially act as exterior kidneys. This procedure helps control your blood pressure and keep a safe level of certain chemicals in your body, such as potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate.
When Is Dialysis Needed?
Dialysis is needed when your kidneys can no longer remove enough waste and fluid from your body to keep you healthy. This typically happens when you only have 10 to 15 percent of your kidney function left. There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease, the later of which become fatal if left untreated. Generally, symptoms start to show around stage 3, by which point you will definitely need treatment. In chronic or end stage kidney failure your kidneys will not get better and you will need dialysis for the rest of your life, or transplantation. Consult with your doctor to determine if and when you should start dialysis.
The Types of Dialysis:
There are two types of dialysis treatment - hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. They both serve the same function and are prescribed on a case-by-case basis based on factors such as the patient’s lifestyle, disease severity, and personal preference.
Since treatment is personalized and based on a case-by-base basis, your nephrologist will explain everything in detail and ensure you understand the process to its full extent. If you have any questions about dialysis, when it is needed, or the different types of dialysis, feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation.
Got Questions? We Have Answers
Milwaukee Nephrologists is a network of experts and doctors that are board-certified in Nephrology and have chosen a focus that provides a wide array of sub-specialization. If you or a loved one suffers from, or is at risk for kidney disease, please contact us for an examination.