What is dialysis?

Dialysis is a procedure or a treatment implemented to remove waste products and excess fluid from your blood. 

Do I need dialysis if I have kidney disease?

During the early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), there is no requirement for dialysis. But since, since CKD is a chronic disease and it lasts for years, at the advanced stages of CKD or if your kidneys fail, you need to rely on dialysis and even kidney transplantation to keep yourself alive. 


You considerably have two options:-

  • Start dialysis when your symptoms are low or during the early stages.
  • Start dialysis if situation gets worse.

Which stage of CKD requires dialysis?

When a person is at stage 4 of Chronic kidney disease, they likely have advanced kidney damage with a severe fall in glomerular filtration rate to about 15-30 ml/min. 

A person during the 4th stage or more must need dialysis or even a kidney transplant in the near future.

When do experts recommend starting dialysis?

Generally, health professionals recommend to start dialysis once their kidney reaches to the advanced stages of CKD. Most people go on dialysis when their main measure of kidney functional glomerular filtration rate or GFR is less than 10ml/ min than usual. 

Before proceeding with dialysis, doctors follow certain guidelines that include kidney failures symptoms, blood pressure, fluid inflammation, and many more.

Things to remember

Measuring only GFR is not the only thing to look upon, you also need to consider the following points:-

  • Any kind of swelling ,nausea, symptoms of kidney failure.
  • Age 
  • Health reports aside kidney problems.
  • Energy levels in daily activities.
  • Ability to make lifestyle changes during dialysis.

When to initiate dialysis in a stable CKD patient?

  • The scientific reports recommend to start dialysis procedure when the kidney function drops to 15%  or less . Also, if you have severe symptoms caused due to kidney disorders such as breath shortness, fatigue/ tiredness, muscle cramps specially in the lower legs ,nausea or vomiting. 
  • Doctors helps you decide to for dialysis also based on your lab results that accurately measures the kidney function and it’s symptoms.
  • It is important for the patients to start getting ready for the dialysis treatment when the kidney disease reaches to the stage 4 . Depending upon the type of dialysis and transport options , make a proper choice to proceed.

Will my kidneys get better once I am on dialysis?

Your kidneys get better depending upon the chances of what caused the kidney failures. It is divided into two general categories – acute and chronic. 

  • The acute kidney failure is temporary and may heal after proper medication. While in chronic kidney disease, the kidneys normally do not heal and without any proper medication, it may lead to the advanced stages of kidney failures.
  • In acute kidney disorders, kidney function may recover after stopping due to sudden stress. But if the damage is continuous and progressive, then it usually may not get better. 

Acute kidney failure is caused by some of the following reasons:-

  • Insufficient blood supply.
  • Obstructed urine flow.
  • Reactions to allergens or toxic substances.

The typical reasons for Chronic kidney disorder are:-

  • Type I and Type II diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Glomerulonephritis.
  • Polycystic kidney disease.
  • Long – term autoimmune attack.
  • Prolonged urinary tract obstruction.

Can someone stop dialysis in between?

Dialysis helps to remove waste products from the body. It is generally done when your body fills with extra fluid and waste products and this leads to a condition called uremia. In this condition, hands and feet may swell and a feeling of weakness continues.

Leaving in between the dialysis, the wastes build up in the body. You will receive the necessary medicines to manage the symptoms of Uraemia and other medical conditions. Depending upon the amount of toxins that build up in the body, death usually follows anywhere ranging from a few days to several weeks. 

Does dialysis work for everyone?

Dialysis is not the best option always for everyone with kidney (renal) failure. Some studies and researches reveal that dialysis does not guarantee a full course of treatment or a survival benefit for people over the age of 75 having diseases such as dementia or ischemic heart disease in addition to end-stage kidney disease. 

What are some negative effects of dialysis?

The noticeable side effects of hemodialysis are:-

  • Low blood pressure.
  • Access site infection.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Blood clots.

Some of the most common side effects of peritoneal dialysis are:-

  • Peritonitis.
  • Hernia.
  • Blood sugar changes.
  • Potassium imbalances.
  • Weight gain.

What should I include in our diet after dialysis?

  • Dieticians recommend people on haemodialysis to add some rich  quality protein foods in their diet because it produces less waste products for removal during dialysis. High quality food includes meat, poultry ,fish and eggs and many more.
  • Try to avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and canned chili that contains high amount of sodium and phosphorus.

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