When kidneys can no longer perform their function, dialysis is opted to facilitate healthy functioning of kidneys. It helps extend the life of some patients, while for others it provides time to find a kidney donor.
Dr. Yasir Hussain is a Nephrologist in Lahore. He practices at Lifeline Hospital in Johar Town. In this session with oladoc, he discusses key issues related to kidneys’ health, common kidney problems, and the most common treatment; Dialysis.
Q.1: What is dialysis and how does it work?
Dialysis helps to keep balance in the body. It removes harmful toxins, salt and extra water from the blood. It helps to keep a healthy amount of beneficial chemicals in the blood such as potassium, glucose and bicarbonate. Moreover, it also helps the patient maintain normal blood pressure.
It essentially works by cleaning blood inside the body. There are three major types of dialysis procedures: Intermittent hemodialysis (IHD), Peritoneal dialysis (PD) and Continuous renal replacement therapies (CRRT). Each type has advantages and disadvantages, these options are opted based on patients requirements and medical history.
Q.2: What are the side effects of dialysis?
It causes the patient to experience a number of side effects. This involves muscle cramps, experience itchiness on skin and body, low blood pressure. Due to itching and general discomfort, the patient may face problems related to sleep. Infections might develop at the access sight of dialysis.
Patients are also likely to suffer from depression and mood fluctuations. However, many of these side effects can be avoided if proper precautions are undertaken during and after the process.
Q.3: What is the survival rate for dialysis patients?
Dialysis merely helps the patient’s kidneys perform, the patient cannot entirely depend on dialysis their entire lives. It is important to eliminate the problem from its root; therefore getting a kidney transplant is encouraged. Dialysis helps with the functioning of the kidneys but it is not as effective as kidneys naturally are.
Most people who get dialysis done lead normal lives but it cannot be relied on for a lifetime. Without dialysis, harmful substances accumulate in the body and eventually affect other organs.
Q.4: How can I improve my kidney function to avoid dialysis?
I always tell my patients that caution is better than cure. Natural remedies may be resorted to; an overall healthy lifestyle facilitates the functioning of kidneys. I recommend my patients to incorporate exercise in their daily life, a 20-25 minute walk 5 days a week might have everlasting effects.
I strongly discourage patients from self-medication, especially consuming over the counter drugs such as antibiotics and painkillers, since they contribute to making matters worse. In today’s day and age, most foods are loaded with salt.
This contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle and directly affects the kidneys; salt should be avoided as much as possible. Moreover, I would suggest getting regular tests done especially if you’re diabetic or a blood pressure patient. Timely diagnosis can help decrease the intensity of these diseases.
Q.5: What should you eat after dialysis?
Patients are usually specialized a special diet considering their medical history and the type of dialysis procedure they undertake. Since the body experiences a fluid overload, it is important to consume a fixed amount of fluid every day.
If you want to learn more about any kidney health and the appropriate treatment, watch the full interview.