Dialysis is a treatment that helps remove toxins, waste, and excess fluids when your kidneys can’t do that work on their own. Dialysis can also help control blood pressure by removing excess fluids from your body, keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure controlled.
Along with medication, dialysis can help your kidneys to do their job and help you live a full and active life.
How does dialysis work?
First, there are two types of kidney dialysis. One is called hemodialysis and the other is peritoneal dialysis. Each uses a different method to filter toxins from your body. With hemodialysis, your blood is circulated through a dialysis machine. This cleans your blood and returns it back into your body. With peritoneal dialysis, a tube or catheter is inserted into your belly that allows a cleansing fluid to pass through your abdomen (peritoneum). This process uses your abdomen’s lining to filter waste, toxins and fluid. To help the filtering process, both types of dialysis use a solution made from pure water, electrolytes and salts called dialysate solution.
How long does dialysis take?
Usually, a hemodialysis might take between three and five hours per session and you may need to do it three days per week. These sessions can be done in a dialysis clinic like those at Valleywise Health or you may be able to do them at home. There’s even an option for doing it at home while you sleep. You should speak with your doctor about your specific needs and the options available to you.
Like hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis can be done in a clinic setting or at home – depending on your medical needs as determined by your doctor. There are two types of peritoneal dialysis – Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD).
CAPD treatments are done without the use of a machine. Using the catheter, you’ll fill your abdomen with dialysate solution, wait for a period of time and then drain the fluid. You may need to do this several times a day.
APD treatments use a machine called a “cycler” that does the work of filling your abdomen with dialysate solution, waiting and then draining it. What makes this treatment different is that it’s done overnight while you’re sleeping. That means you’ll need to be attached to the machine for about 10-12 hours.
Dialysis may be an essential part of your healthcare treatment plan. Like all healthcare concerns, you should always consult a doctor to determine what’s best for you and your needs.
If you don’t already have a doctor, you can make an appointment to see one of our expert physicians.