Hemodialysis
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What are Hemodialysis?

Dialysis is a treatment that takes over the job of your kidneys if they fail . The kidneys have many functions that help your body stay healthy. They help clear toxins out of your blood and help your body balance salt levels. Most patients begin dialysis when their kidneys have lost 85%-90% of their ability. You may be on dialysis for a short time, or you may need it for the rest of you life (or until you receive a kidney transplant), depending on the reason for your kidney failure.

If you have kidneys that are not working and the damage is not reversible, you have end stage enal disease (ESRD). ESRD is caused by conditions such as diabetes, kidney cancer , drug use, high blood pressure , or other kidney problems. Dialysis is not a cure for ESRD, but it does help you feel better and...

The main functions of hemodialysis are to:

  • Remove waste and excess fluid from your blood
  • Control blood pressure
  • Keep a safe level of salts in the body, such as potassium, sodium, and chloride

It may also be done to remove toxins from the bloodstream quickly. This can be used in cases of poisoning or drug overdose.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have hemodialysis, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

  • Lowering your red blood count and causing anemia
  • Drop in blood pressure during hemodialysis
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Infection
  • Feeling hot, sweaty, weak, and/or dizzy
  • Inflammation of the heart sac ( pericarditis )
  • Neurologic problems
  • Disruption of calcium and phosphorus balance, resulting in weakened bones

Also, having heart problems is a factor that may increase the risk of complications from hemodialysis.

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of...
 
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