The diagnosis of kidney failure is a life-altering experience. Although there is no way to make treatment easy, there are options to make the process of dialysis less taxing on your body and less intrusive in your life.
Consider Peritoneal Dialysis
Ask your doctor if peritoneal dialysis is a treatment option. Many people find peritoneal dialysis is less time-consuming than traditional hemodialysis because they perform their treatments at any time and any location throughout the day. The initial procedure needed to perform peritoneal dialysis will require more invasive medical treatment and recovery time. A surgeon needs to place a catheter throughout your abdominopelvic cavity so dialysis fluid can be flushed throughout the peritoneum. After you have healed from the procedure, you will have a port that is accessible outside of your body where you can attach the appropriate fluids for dialysis and drain them.
Learn About At-Home Dialysis
Since peritoneal dialysis is not always an option and most patients who need hemodialysis will require several sessions each week, having the option to perform dialysis at home is important. In some cases, you will need to have dialysis at a dialysis center several times before your doctors will be comfortable with you performing dialysis at home. When you perform dialysis at home, you will be given specific instructions and training by a medical professional at your home. This information includes how to minimize your infection risks and the appropriate settings for your dialysis machine. Additionally, you need to learn what to do if there are any equipment problems or if blood clots or air bubbles form in the machine.
Ideally, you will have a friend or family member available for training, so they can also learn what to do in the event of an emergency. Doing dialysis at home means you can enjoy the privacy and comfort of your residence during treatment and you may choose to have your treatments at night while you sleep, so there is less disruption to your work or home schedule.
Ask About High-Flux Dialysis
Another option for hemodialysis patients, especially those who must go to a dialysis center for treatment, is the use of high-flux dialysis. As with other dialysis treatments, this form may not be appropriate for your specific situation. The major difference between high-flux dialysis and traditional hemodialysis is the treatments are faster, which can be an attractive option. Traditional hemodialysis may take four or more hours to complete several times per week, whereas high-flux dialysis may be performed in approximately half the time. There is inherent risks associated with removing fluid and waste products at a rapid rate. During high-flux dialysis, a machine consistently monitors the rate at which fluid and waste products are removed and adjusts the rate to minimize the chances of undesirable effects.
The process of kidney dialysis can be intimidating and challenging, but fortunately there are several dialysis options to make the process easier. Finding the option that is the least impactful to your life can make it easier to maintain a positive attitude throughout treatments.
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