‘Should I be diagnosed with chronic kidney diseases what treatment options do I have available in South Africa?’

When Your Kidneys Fail

Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid, minerals, and wastes. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. When your kidneys fail, harmful wastes build up in your body, your blood pressure may rise, and your body may retain excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells. When this happens, you need treatment to replace the work of your failed kidneys.

Treatment Choice:

1. Heamodialysis

Heamodialysis cleans and filters your blood using a machine to temporarily rid your body of harmful wastes, extra salt, and extra water. Heamodialysis helps control blood pressure and helps your body keep the proper balance of important chemicals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, and bicarbonate.

Dialysis can replace part of the function of your kidneys. Diet, medications, and fluid limits are often needed as well. Your diet, fluids, and the number of medications you need will depend on which treatment you choose.

How Heamodialysis Works

Heamodialysis uses a special filter called a dialyzer that functions as an artificial kidney to clean your blood. The dialyzer is a filter connected to the heamodialysis machine.

Heamodialysis is usually done three times a week. Each treatment lasts from 3 to 4 or more hours as per Dr’s prescription. During treatment, you can read, write, sleep, talk, or watch TV.

2. Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is another procedure that removes wastes, chemicals, and extra water from your body. This type of dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen, or belly, to filter your blood. This lining is called the peritoneal membrane and acts as the artificial kidney.

How Peritoneal Dialysis Works

A mixture of minerals and sugar dissolved in water, called dialysis solution, travels through a catheter into your belly. The sugar—called dextrose—draws wastes, chemicals, and extra water from the tiny blood vessels in your peritoneal membrane into the dialysis solution. After several hours, the used solution is drained from your abdomen through the tube, taking the wastes from your blood with it. Then your abdomen is refilled with fresh dialysis solution, and the cycle is repeated 3 to 4 times a day according to your doctor’s prescription. The process of draining and refilling is called an exchange

3. Kidney Transplantation

Kidney transplantation surgically places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. The donated kidney does enough of the work that your two failed kidneys used to do to keep you healthy and symptom free.

How Kidney Transplantation Works

A surgeon places the new kidney inside your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your artery and vein. Your blood flows through the donated kidney, which makes urine, just like your own kidneys did when they were healthy. The new kidney may start working right away or may take up to a few weeks to make urine. Unless your own kidneys are causing infection or high blood pressure, they are left in place.

References:

National Kidney and Urology Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)’

 ‘The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

www.kidney.niddk.nih.gov

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