Why Is There A Need For Dialysis?

Before kidney failure was called renal failure it was called renal insufficiency. This onerous illness is occurs when the kidneys cannot filter out the toxins and waste products that build up in the blood.

What Is Kidney Dialysis?

Kidney dialysis is a tripartite word derived from the Greek words that mean dissolution, through, and loosening. It is a process that is used to remove waste and excess water build-up in the blood. It is essentially an artificial replacement for people that lose the function of each kidney when they get renal failure. Those who get a kidney injury or those with a chronic kidney condition that is gradually worsening can both use dialysis to help with their condition. A kidney disease that is chronic can be impossible to reverse, but an acute kidney injury can usually be reversed. Dialysis, in the case of chronic kidney disease, is just a “holding measure” until a full-on total renal transplant can take place, and it is sometimes the sole supportive measure for those people that would not be eligible for a kidney transplant. In that sense, dialysis is both a substitute measure and a sufficient treatment on its own. Depending on the case, dialysis might be used temporarily or permanently. It is a mainstay and a stopgap solution.

What Roles Do The Kidneys Play In The Human Body?

The kidneys are essential in maintaining health in the human body. When they’re working just perfectly, the kidneys play the role of maintaining the body’s inner equilibrium of water and minerals. The acidic compounds that the body can’t get rid of through sweat are also released through they kidneys. The kidneys are also part of the network in the endocrine system. Dialysis is an incomplete treatment to restore kidney function because it does not fully correct the endocrine functions of the kidneys. Kidney dialysis can only replace some of the functions like diffusion, a kind of waste removal, and ultrafiltration, basically just fluid removal.

What Is The History Of Dialysis?

Dr. Willem Kolff was a Dutch physician who built the first machine for dialysis in World War II. Because there was a scarcity of materials because of the Nazi invasion, the doctor had to improvise and build it out of a lot of different scrap parts and spare pieces like sausage casings, beer cans, and a washing machine. Over the course of several years, the doctor used his machine to treat over a dozen patients who had suffered from kidney failure. He was not successful at what he was doing though.  He did have his first successful treatment in 1945.

Learn About Dialysis More In-Depth

There are two primary types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. They both remove waste and excess water from the blood in separate methods. The first method, hemodialysis, removes waste and water by circulating blood outside of the body through a filter outside of the body. The process is highly complicated, technical, and multi-part, and it is lengthy in jargon. The second type of dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, removes waste and water from the bloody inside the body with the use of a special peritoneal membrane, and it is a semi-permeable membrane. Waste and excess water move from the blood across the membrane, and they move into a special dialysis solution, called dialysate, and this is located in the abdominal cavity. The fluid part of the solution has a composition that is similar to blood.

What Are The Statistics On Dialysis?

Dialysis has high costs and high death rates. For 35 years, though, dialysis has been the first method to treat advanced kidney failure. The vast numbers of patients that go through dialysis centers where their blood is pumped an ounce at a time through a small machine resembling a small refrigerator is staggering. There is a special filter in it that removes the bad wastes, extra salts, and fluids. This unique process helps control the blood pressure and maintains a good balance of chemicals in the blood. Almost 500,000 citizens in the United States were receiving some form of renal care in 2006. A little less than 400,000 were receiving dialysis.