Dialysis common Myths and a small approach to their real meaning

By definition a dialysis is “the artificial process of eliminating waste (diffusion) and unwanted water (ultrafiltration) from the blood. Even though our kidneys do this naturally, some people, however, may have failed or damaged kidneys which cannot carry out the function properly, so they need dialysis”.

Renal Dialysis_joe cosgrove_health

Image courtesy of duncan c at Flickr.com

Everybody knows the definition and has seen the treatment. It is painful and annoying to live with such disease and it changes your way of life depending on the patient. Dialysis for some Chronic Kidney Disease patients (especially people in the Early Stage) who are unfamiliar with the treatment may seem like a Death Sentence. For those people that have lived with this illness for some time now, know what to expect and what is a myth and what information is a fact. And for starters, dialysis is not a death sentence,(it is not a walk in the park either).

Joe Cosgrove took the kindness of researching some myths and their real fact for new members of the dialysis club or for old members that are still struggling a little bit. Let’s see what people are doing wrongly and what they should really do.  

The treatment myth.

So you have been diagnosed with a kidney disease and they told you need dialysis. OMG.  But don’t worry; it is not the end of the road for you. A lot of people think that once you start dialysis your life ends and that you will be travelling to the hospital 3 times per week using 4 hours every time you go to the hospital. This is a myth. The amazing fact is that Dialysis can be done in many ways: You can do hemo-dialysis which is done in a dialysis unit, a hospital or in the comfort of your own home. Or, you can do peritoneal dialysis which is done in your home. You and your doctor decide which form of dialysis and place is best for you, and based on your medical condition and your wishes, the doctor will design a treatment that doesn’t even require travelling to the hospital at all.

Dialysis and pain.

The common myth is that the dialysis treatment hurts a lot. It does produce some discomfort when the needles go in to your fistula. Apart from this small pain, there are no other problems related to pain with the dialysis treatment. Some patients experience a drop on their blood pressure which in turn leads to nausea, vomiting, headaches or cramps. However, if patients take care and follow all the kidney diet and fluid restrictions, these types of side effects can be avoided. If the needle causes more than a small pain or a pinch, patient can use skin numbing drugs that can help such as Lidocaine and EMLA cream. If the treatment does hurt, patient should tell their Nurses and Nephrologists so they can address the issue and fix it.

Dialysis will cure my kidney disease

Unfortunately this is a myth because once your kidney fails, it is very difficult to recover and to make your kidney work as it used to. Dialysis is an option, a treatment to assure you that the function that was once done by the kidney does not disappear from your body causing you a great amount of problems and is something that patients need to incorporate in their lives to better manage their health outcomes and enjoy a high quality of life.

Travelling with a dialysis treatment

Dialysis on the deck_joe cosgrove_Kidney Disease

Image courtesy of Julie at Flickr.com

Of course, newbies in the world of kidney failures will tend to think that as a patient you will have to be connected to the hospital machines 24/7. As it was said in the first myth in this article, the treatment can be done at home and anywhere that the patient is. Yes, there are some restrictions because you will need all the supplies and you will have to take time to do your treatment, but this could be managed: If the patient is on Hemodialysis he or she can arrange treatments at a center at the planned travel destination; and if the patient is conducting Peritoneal Dialysis or Home Hemodialysis most centers can arrange for all the needed supplies to be directly delivered to wherever the patient is travelling to.  The idea is to plan in advance with the doctor and the treatment schedules and you can still go camping, backpacking or visit family and friends just for fun.

If we sit down and think about it, all the diseases in the world have myths and facts around them. This often is a cultural and social issue that comes from years back, with some myths making a little bit of sense and some others just very strange to follow.  Always research and acquire as much information as possible. You can also find more information about dialysis in this article


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