Dialysis is the procedure that substitutes many of the normal functions of the kidneys. Healthy kidneys filter the blood removing excess fluid, minerals and waste. The kidneys also produce hormones that keep our bones strong and our blood healthy. When the kidneys fail, harmful waste builds up in our body, the blood pressure can rise, and the body may retain excess fluid and not produce enough red blood cells. When this happens, you need treatment to replace the function of your kidneys.
This is the moment when dialysis is required in order to help sick kidneys do those functions they are not being able to perform. Many people in this situation have had to decide which of the two possibilities of dialysis they are going to choose: the peritoneal or hemodialysis. Now if that is the case, how do you choose well when facing such important decision?
First things first: what is the difference between the two types of Dialysis?
Both forms of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal, are used to treat kidney failure. However they are different.
The process of hemodialysis requires the placement of a special access, a plastic tube placed between an artery and a vein in the arm or leg. The machine for hemodialysis (dialyzer) is connected to the patient through the help of this catheter and is in charge of filtering the blood, wash it in a special solution that removes the fluids and waste substances and then returns it to the patient’s bloodstream.
On the other hand, peritoneal dialysis is performed by the surgical placement of a soft tube (peritoneal dialysis catheter), and hollow in the lower abdomen near the navel. After the placement of the tube a special fluid (dialysate) is flushed into the peritoneal cavity (abdomen) and left for a certain time determined by the doctor. The fluid acts absorbing waste and toxins through the peritoneum. After the absorption it is necessary to drain the fluid.
If you want to know more about “dialysis common myths” read the article by Joe Crosgrove by clicking here
Advantages and disadvantages
All people respond differently to similar situations and treatments. What can be a negative factor for some might be positive to others. The following list of advantages and disadvantages is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a general idea of what to expect when dealing with the different types of dialysis.