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Dialysis: Understanding When and Why It’s Needed

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood, regulating electrolyte balance, and producing hormones that control blood pressure and red blood cell production. Dialysis becomes necessary when the kidneys are no longer able to perform these vital functions adequately. This condition, known as kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), can result from various factors such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, and genetic conditions.

Why Dialysis Is Necessary?
Dialysis is a vital treatment option for individuals with kidney failure because it performs the functions that the kidneys can no longer fulfil effectively. The primary purposes of dialysis include:

  • Removing Waste Products: Dialysis filters waste products, toxins, and excess fluids from the blood, preventing the build up of harmful
    substances in the body.
  • Maintaining Fluid Balance: By removing excess fluid, dialysis helps control blood pressure and prevents fluid overload, which can lead to complications like heart failure and edema.
  • Regulating Electrolytes: Dialysis helps maintain proper levels of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and calcium in the blood,
    promoting overall metabolic balance.
  • Managing Acidity: Dialysis helps balance the pH level of the blood by removing acidic waste products, preventing acidosis.

Types of Dialysis

Hemodialysis: In hemodialysis, blood is circulated outside the body through a dialysis machine that filters it and returns it to the body.

Peritoneal Dialysis: Peritoneal dialysis involves using the peritoneum (a membrane inside the abdomen) as a natural filter.

Dialysis is a life-saving medical procedure that plays a crucial role in managing kidney failure and improving the quality of life for patients. Early detection, regular monitoring, and adherence to dialysis treatment are key factors in optimizing outcomes for individuals with kidney failure.

Dr. Jacob George
Senior Consultant Nephrologist
SUT Hospital, Pattom