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FAQs: Kidney Related Treatments

  • Why Kidneys are important?

    The kidneys are the master chemists of the body. They filter and remove waste products from the blood, remove extra water from the body, adjust levels of minerals and chemicals in your body and produce hormones that help control your blood pressure and help make red blood cells.

  • What is Nephrologist?

    A nephrologist is a doctor who treats patients with kidney problems and related hypertension or high blood pressure. Once you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, early referral to a nephrologist is important in preserving and protecting your kidney function. As a specialist in kidney disease, your nephrologist has the knowledge and skill to work with you in developing a plan of care specific to your needs.

  • What is dialysis?

    Dialysis is a medical process through which a person's blood is cleansed of the toxins or wastes that kidneys normally remove. It is used when a person's kidneys no longer function optimally. The purpose is to keep the right levels of chemicals, fluids and salts in the body so that the body functions normally.

  • What are the types of Dialysis?

    Dialysis is a process that cleans and filters your blood. There are two types of dialysis, hemodialysis, and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis - Hemodialysis cleans your blood using a machine with a special filter called a dialyzer. During a hemodialysis treatment blood travels from your body through tubes to the dialyzer which filters out wastes and extra water. The cleaned blood flows through another set of tubes back into your body. Peritoneal Dialysis - Peritoneal dialysis removes wastes and extra water from your body using the lining of your abdomen (peritoneum) to filter your blood. A special solution travels through a soft tube into your abdomen. The solution draws wastes and extra water from tiny blood vessels in your peritoneum back into the solution which is then drained from your abdomen through the soft tube.

  • Which doctor should I see if I have if I need Dialysis?

    A Nephrologist or a Physician with expertise in kidney diseases.

  • How many types of dialysis are there?

    Renal dialysis falls into two main divisions: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis cleans and filters your blood using a machine to temporarily remove harmful wastes, extra salt, and extra water from your body. Hemodialysis is most often performed in a dialysis centre but home treatment options are also available. Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen and dialysis solution (a mixture of minerals and sugar dissolved in water) to filter your blood removing wastes, chemicals and extra water from your body. After several hours, the used solution is drained from your abdomen through a tube and the cycle is repeated with fresh solution

  • Which type of dialysis is better?

    Both are good, choice usually depends on the personal lifestyle of the patient and certain medical conditions like congestive heart failure, vascular access complications, diabetes etc. Hemodialysis is usually performed at a dialysis centre as compared to peritoneal dialysis which can be safely done at home .CAPD is usually preferred in children as they have small vessels which are difficult to cannulate and repeated needling is painful and difficult in them. Fluid intake can be more liberal in CAPD.

  • Is it dangerous to skip dialysis?

    Yes, this can lead to fluid overload and breathing problems. It can also increase your serum potassium level which can lead to serious cardiac complications. Therefore skipping dialysis can be life threatening.

  • What basic precautions should a patient of dialysis take?

    While on dialysis you should watch your diet. In case of any breathing trouble, you should contact your doctor as you may require urgent dialysis. Care of the vascular access should be ensured as advised by your physician.

  • How does dialysis work and how long does it take to complete?

    Like healthy kidneys, dialysis keeps your body in balance. It removes waste, salts and extra water, keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate and helps to control blood pressure. A session of hemodialysis usually takes 4 hours three times a week whereas peritoneal dialysis is a continuous process.

  • Can dialysis cure my kidney disease?

    No, dialysis does not cure kidney disease. It does the work which the kidneys should be doing.

  • What are the symptoms of kidney disease?

    The warning signs of kidney disease are not always obvious, especially in the early stages. Here are some possible symptoms: • Less urine • Swelling in the hands, face and legs • Shortness of breath • Appetite loss, nausea and vomiting • High Blood Pressure • Feeling cold and tired

  • How will I know if I have kidney disease?

    Several blood and urine screening tests can check for kidney damage and evaluate how well your kidneys are working. Nephrologists use several sophisticated tests. Your urine can reveal a great deal about the functioning of your kidneys. Blood in the urine, called hematuria, can indicate kidney stones, a kidney injury or a urinary tract infection. Sometimes the urine is high in protein, called proteinuria or albuminuria. Larger amounts of protein in the urine can be a sign of early kidney disease. If not controlled, increased amounts of protein in the urine can lead to kidney damage. Blood tests can reveal the amount of waste products such as urea, creatinine and nitrogen in the blood that indicate kidney disease and its stage. The creatinine level indicates how well the tiny filters in the kidneys are doing their job, filtering out wastes. This level is called the GFR, and the higher the number the better your kidneys are functioning. Most people do not have symptoms of decreased kidney function until the GFR is 20–30, and they do not feel sick until it is 10–15. Like knowing your blood pressure numbers, you should know your GFR.

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