Hemodialysis involves the use of an artificial kidney!

Hemodialysis uses an artificial kidney called a hemodialyzer to remove wastes, excess fluids and extra chemicals from the blood. Kidneys that are healthy and functioning correctly, clean our blood and remove extra fluids in the form of urine. They are also responsible for producing enzymes and hormones that keep our body healthy.

Your dialysis only replaces some of the functions that your kidneys can no longer perform. This is only required if your kidneys are damaged and can no longer remove enough wastes and fluids from your blood, in order for you to stay healthy. This is usually when the functions of your kidneys are below 15%.

How does hemodialysis work?

In this particular dialysis treatment, your blood is pumped through a dialysis machine which exposes it to a special filter.

This filter is made of a semi-permeable membrane that acts as an artificial kidney. This device is also known medically as a dialyzer. This is where your blood would be cleaned of its wastes products before it is pumped back into your body.

So how is the blood clean during hemodialysis?

There are two parts to the dialyzer machine. One area of the dialyzer is for your blood and the other area is for a cleansing solution called dialysate. These two areas are delicately separated by the thin membrane. Because of the size of the filtering capabilities of this thin membrane, your blood cells, its proteins, and other important things remain in your blood.

This is simply due to the fact that they are to large to pass through the membrane. Only the smaller wastes products such as urea, creatinine, potassium and excess fluids are allowed to pass through the membrane.

Where is this type of dialysis done?

Hemodialysis can be carried out in several places which include:

  • The hospital
  • A dialysis center
  • At your home

Usually you will work with your health care team to determine the best place to have your dialysis done. Your overall medical condition will have a big part to play in the final decision. Hemodialysis treatment! How long does it last? The duration of this dialysis treatment usually last about 4 to 6 hours. However the time needed for your dialysis will depend on several factors which include:

  • How well your kidneys work.
  • How much fluid weight you have gained between treatments.
  • How much waste is present in your body.
  • Your overall body weight.
  • The type of artificial kidney (dialyzer) being used at the time.

This treatment is carried out at least three times a week. The frequency of your treatment is determined by the diagnoses of your doctor. He will say how much dialysis treatment you will need. According to medical studies, the right amount of dialysis treatment will improve your overall health and it will keep you out of the hospital.

The right amount of treatment will also enable you to live a longer more healthier life. Regular monitoring of your treatment...followed by monthly lab test, enable your dialysis care team to say if you are receiving the correct amount of dialysis treatment. When you begin this type of dialysis, the needles used may provide some discomfort at first.

This is usually when they are being placed in your fistula or graft. Over time you may get use to this process. Still as part of your dialysis treatment, your health care team will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. Symptoms such as cramps, headaches, nausea, or dizziness are uncommon.

However if you begin to experience any of the above symptoms, ask your dialysis care team if they can carry out any of the following steps listed below:

  • Slow down your fluid removal. This of cause will increase your dialysis treatment time.
  • Increase the amount of sodium content in your dialysate.
  • Check your high blood pressure medications.
  • Adjust your dry weight, or your targeted weight.
  • Cool down your dialysate a little.
  • Use a special medication that will help prevent low blood pressure (hypotension) during your dialysis treatment.

As an individual that has to do dialysis treatments, you can help yourself by completely following your diet and fluid (allowances) intake. Trust me, you will feel uncomfortable when there is a need to remove to much fluid and wastes from your blood, during your hemodialysis.

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