What is dialysis?
Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things that are done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when the kidneys have been damaged and are not able to carry out their normal functions. With the result there is retention of waste products in the body along with salt, water and other chemicals. This may happen during temporary failure of the kidney (a renal function) and when there is permanent damage (chronic renal failure).
Dialysis does the following
Removes waste products, salt and extra water so that their levels may not increase in the body. Keep a safe level of certain chemicals in the blood such as sodium, potassium and bicarbonate. Control blood pressure.
There are two types of dialysis
Benefits of dialysis
Dialysis removes the accumulated waste products, fluids and water from the body that have been accumulated because of failed kidneys. They also normalize the levels of certain important chemicals such as sodium, potassium and bicarbonate. However dialysis does not carry out all the functions of the kidney (do a laundry job) and hence certain other medications such as Erythropoiten and Vitamin D may not be prescribed .
The alternative to dialysis is a renal transplant which may or may not be advised to a patient depending upon various medical and other factors. At times the usual hemodialysis procedure may be substituted by another procedure which is carried out round the clock (CRRT) continuous renal replacement therapy.
What if dialysis is not done?
If dialysis is not done have been because kidneys have failed, impurities (waste) and fluid accumulate in the body. Patients body is poisoned and various organ system will start failing eg. Patient will have a difficulty in breathing because of accumulation of fluid in the lungs, or because acid has been retained in the body or the patient may lose consciousness or have convulsions (fits) or the heart may fail or behave irregularly. The ultimate outcome will be death.