How Does Hemodialysis Work? – Understanding Process, Benefits & Complications

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, difficulty urinating, swelling, or persistent nausea and headache, you should consult your doctor. If your doctor orders a blood test and the results show high levels of uric acid, BUN (blood urea nitrogen), or creatinine, this could indicate that your kidneys are failing. You should see a kidney specialist here. Uraemia is the collective term for these conditions. At this point, medical management is insufficient, and the patient must begin dialysis as indicated by the expert. 

Dialysis might sound scary, especially if you are unsure of what it entails. You may wonder: What is dialysis? What are the benefits of getting dialysis? How often do I need treatment? What are the risks and complications involved with dialysis? So we at The Renal Project have got you covered for all these questions with the best dialysis services for kidney patients, read our blog to know more. 

What is Dialysis?

Hemodialysis is a medical procedure that is used to filter waste products and excess fluid from the blood of patients with kidney failure. The procedure involves the use of a dialysis machine that filters the blood, removing toxins and other harmful substances, and then returns the purified blood to the body. In this blog post, we will explore how hemodialysis works and how it can help patients with kidney failure to maintain their health.

What happens during Dialysis?

Hemodialysis involves the use of a dialysis machine that is connected to the patient through an access point. This access point can be a fistula or graft, which is created by connecting an artery to a vein or by surgically implanting a synthetic tube, respectively. The access point provides a pathway for the blood to be removed from the body and filtered by the dialysis machine.

Once the access point is established, the patient is seated in a chair or bed, and the dialysis machine is activated. The machine consists of a series of tubes, filters, and a dialyzer, which is a special filter that removes waste and extra fluid from the blood. The machine is programmed to control the rate of blood flow and the rate of fluid removal to ensure that the process is safe and effective.

During the procedure, blood is drawn from the patient’s access point and is sent through the dialyzer. The dialyzer is made up of a series of membranes that act as filters, allowing small molecules like waste products and excess fluid to pass through while retaining larger molecules like proteins and blood cells. The filtered blood is then returned to the patient’s body through the access point.

The entire process usually takes several hours, and patients typically undergo hemodialysis three times a week. During the procedure, patients may experience some discomfort, but it is generally well-tolerated, and most patients can continue with their daily activities while undergoing treatment.

What are the benefits of Hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis can provide many benefits to patients with kidney failure. One of the most significant benefits is that it can help to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood, which can build up in the body and cause a range of health problems. Without hemodialysis, these waste products can accumulate in the body, leading to a condition known as uremia, which can cause fatigue, nausea, and confusion, among other symptoms.

Hemodialysis can also help to control blood pressure and maintain proper electrolyte balance in the body. Patients with kidney failure often experience high blood pressure and imbalances in electrolyte levels, which can cause a range of health problems. Hemodialysis can help to correct these issues, improving overall health and quality of life.

Kidney failure can be a debilitating condition that can limit a patient’s ability to work, travel, and enjoy their hobbies and interests. Hemodialysis can help to manage the symptoms of kidney failure, allowing patients to maintain their daily routines and enjoy their lives.

What are the potential risks and complications of Dialysis?

While hemodialysis is a lifesaving treatment for patients with kidney failure, there are potential risks and complications associated with the procedure that should be taken care of by an experienced dialysis team.

  1. Low Blood Pressure: Hemodialysis can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness, nausea, and even fainting. 
  2. Infection: Hemodialysis requires access to the bloodstream, and any access point may become a site of infection. 
  3. Blood Clots: Hemodialysis can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the access point, which can be potentially dangerous. Blood clots can impede the flow of blood through the access point and prevent the removal of waste from the blood. 
  4. Muscle Cramps: Hemodialysis can lead to muscle cramps, which are often caused by a decrease in fluid and electrolytes in the body. 
  5. Anemia: Hemodialysis can cause anemia, which is a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells. Fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath can all be symptoms of anaemia.
  6. Hypersensitivity: Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the dialysis solution or heparin, a medication used to prevent blood clots. Symptoms of hypersensitivity can include itching, hives, and difficulty breathing. 
  7. Dialysis Dementia: Dialysis dementia is a rare complication that can occur in patients who undergo long-term hemodialysis, characterized by cognitive decline, including memory loss and confusion.

Learn more about Dialysis with The Renal Project:

In conclusion, hemodialysis is a lifesaving treatment for patients with kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Being one of the best centres for dialysis providing Home Dialysis as well as Hospital Dialysis services, we see many success stories with our amazing kidney specialists assisting us in every step of the way. With pan India micro centers, we ensure that we are never far from you. Each of our centres provides excellent patient care at reasonable prices. Call us today to learn more about our services.

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