How to choose the right treatment in case of renal failure?

If you have kidney disease, you must make certain decisions about the coming treatment. If you choose so, alternatives are basically three hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and kidney transplantation. Each one has advantages and disadvantages. It is also possible for you to decide not to submit to any kind of treatment. If you know your choices, you can decide wisely with the help of your doctor about what is best for you. Whatever treatment you choose, you must make some changes in your life, such as diet and the way to plan your daily activities.

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The first aspect you should consider is the status of your kidney disease is. Knowing this is so important for your doctor in order to determine the kind of treatment that best fits your health situation. Renal disease has five stages. First is kidney damage, for example, when there is protein in the urine of patients (with a filter of 90 or higher on the scale of glomerular filtration rate GFR). The second stage is kidney damage with a mild decrease (with a slight GFR decrease between 60 and 89). The third is the moderate GFR decrease; specifically, between 30 and 59. The fourth stage is a severe GFR reduction: between 15 and 29. Finally, the last stage is kidney failure, which occurs when the kidneys are not able to adequately filter toxins and other waste substances from the blood stream.

The numbers in the GFR is a way to know about how much kidney function remains for a particular patient. There are different techniques to calculate the glomerular filtration rate. These techniques generally make use of an endogenous or added substance that filters almost completely and then is almost not reabsorbed or excreted at tubular level. GFR can be determined by injecting insulin in the blood plasma, by measuring the rate of creatinine clearance, using the Cockcroft-Gault, using the MDRD formula, or the Starling Leonardo equation.

It is very important that a proper diagnosis of the current condition of your renal system is made before choosing any option.

Related article: What You Need To Know About Dialysis by Joe Cosgrove

If the GFR is below 30, your doctor should tell you about the possibilities in the dialysis treatment, and you would have a little time to take a decision. However, if the index is below 15, it is advisable to start any treatment as soon as possible, because the risk of dying is actually imminent.

Now, the first way for treating renal failure is kidney transplantation, and its great advantage is that you don’t have to undergo long and constant dialysis sessions. The downside is that, on the one hand, it is difficult to find donors and, on the other hand, sometimes it is even harder for the patient’s body to assimilate the transplanted organ. The latter usually happens because the patient’s antibody levels may be very high, so the body considers that the transplanted organ must be removed, and then triggers the immune system to attack it with all its cellular system artillery.

Another method of treating kidney failure is, of course, dialysis. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Many doctors help their patients to choose treatments from a series of simple criteria: the medical affection, the lifestyle that the patient will have after it, the daily care (diet, for instance), the type of medication (and its side effects) and the treatment plan, which is different in both cases.

Hemodialysis removes wastes and the excess of fluid from the blood stream. During this process, blood is pumped through tubes to a dialysis machine and takes it through a special filter called a dialyzer, and then the machine gradually returns the blood to the patient. Each session lasts three to five hours and must be performed at least three times a week.

This treatment can be done at home (see the picture below) or in a specialized center, usually a hospital. If the dialysis session will be done at home you need to have the right equipment and enough space for it, as well as access to water and electricity. It is crucial to have an assistant for each session, which can be a nurse or a trained member of your family.

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Peritoneal dialysis is not developed outside the body. For this treatment, the inner membrane of the abdomen (peritoneum) is used as a natural filter. This process requires a dialysate circulation fluid flowing through the abdomen through a catheter. This catheter is inserted into the body through a simple surgery. After several hours, the introduced cleaning solution is drained and a new amount must be introduced. This exchange usually lasts about half an hour.

This treatment is carried out at home. It is a way to treat kidney failure for those who need more independence than those patients who prefer hemodialysis.

Recommended: Dialysis or kidney transplantation — which is right for me?

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10 Of The Best Tips For Coping With Dialysis

Here at Joe Cosgrove’s blog, we always strive to give you the best information on everything related with kidney disease, renal compensation and topics alike.

10 Of The Best Tips For Coping With Dialysis

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Being on dialysis is tough for you and your loved ones, even if the treatment is a lifesaving procedure and can definitely make you feel better, is not easy to get used to it at first. One of the toughest things of dialysis is the fact that the treatment is not a one time deal, is an ongoing procedure that takes time and effort; this is why today, we bring you some great advice to make the most of it and deal with dialysis without letting it ruin many other positive aspects of your life.

Get actively involved in your treatment

Be another member of your treatment team. Reading about your condition, getting informed and learning about your medication and the equipment being used to treat you are great ways of coping with the fear and anxiety you may experience. Write down questions you may have for your doctors and always talk about your feelings with your loved ones, social workers, psychologist or other specialists that are helping you out during this times. Being well informed is taking responsibility and control over your situation.

Remember you can still enjoy your life

Your daily routines may have to adjust to your new treatment, this is normal and it shouldn’t be a reason to make you feel your entire life has to change. Continuing with your life as normal as possible is the best way to adjust. Talk to your employer and see if you can continue working with some variations to your schedule or try to find a new way to work fewer hours if you are self-employed. You know your limits so don’t push yourself beyond your capabilities.

Continue to exercise or get started

Exercise is great not only for your body but for your mind as well. Always talk to your doctor first so you can choose the exercise program that is right for you. Increasing your endurance and muscle capacity will make it easier for your body to stay healthy and you will be able to have a better quality of life.

Occupy your time wisely as you are on the machine

Idle time makes it difficult sometimes for patients to cope with being on the machine while on dialysis treatment. Use the time wisely to work, read a book or pick up a new hobby that you can engage on while you are waiting. You have to stay still either way, so why not make that time count? It will make a difference for sure.

Take charge of your sleeping patterns

Patients undergoing dialysis treatment usually report having trouble sleeping through the night. Not getting enough sleep can give you headaches, make you irritable and cause you to feel tired during your day. A healthy dose of exercise and avoiding having heavy dinners or eating late at night can help you to get a much-needed full night of sleep.

Your diet is very important

Being on dialysis can actually help you change the way you eat as the diet you should keep during the treatment is something that can benefit just about everyone. A healthy diet helps your body stay clean and get rid of toxins easily, something will also make the treatment a lot more bearable.

Attitude is everything

Keeping a positive attitude is fundamental. Dialysis is something that is helping you live a full life and make you better all together. Accepting the situation and making the best out of it is the way to come out on top. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling if you think you need it and you can’t seem to focus your thoughts on positive things.

10 Of The Best Tips For Coping With Dialysis

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Pay attention to your emotions

Don’t ignore your feelings and seek help if necessary. Getting better is not something that you body does on its own. Health is also an emotional matter, so make sure you talk to those around you who care about you and don’t let your feelings control the situation. Be assertive with your needs and take care of yourself emotionally just like you are doing physically.

Travel if you can

Talk to your doctor about traveling. Understand your limitations and if you are able to go on a trip and get away from everything, do it. Traveling can help you lower your stress and refresh your body and mind. Traveling can be a big boost to morale and greatly raise the quality of life of patients, consider it and do it if you can.

Control your fluid intake

Although this is part of your diet, be mindful of your fluid intake levels and keep them under control to avoid emergency trips to the hospital. If your diet is high on sodium, you will feel thirsty and that will spike your fluid intake. Talk to your doctor about this and always keep it under control.

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

As it has been mentioned in other articles, kidney stones – or renal calculi- are solid rocks made of different components that always take the shape of crystals. Their size and color can vary depending on the type and causes of the formation, however, most of them are formed in the kidneys, though sometimes they can be originated anywhere in the urinary tract (bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra).

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

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Kidney stones are described as one of the most painful medical conditions, commonly affecting the urinary tract and generating a highly uncomfortable feeling for the person who is suffering from them. Given the fact that it is a common affliction, many studies have been done on the subject and a rigorous classification of the different types of stones already exists and it is based on the components forming the rocks.

In this article, Joe Cosgrove will share some detailed information related to the four different types of kidney stones that have been already classified by scientists: calcium, uric acid, struvite, and cystine.

Kidney Stones Classification

For patients who have already had kidney stones, it is very probable that they will develop them again. For this reason, it becomes very important to determine exactly what your stones are made of, that way you will be able to prevent the further formation of these obnoxious crystals.

The best way you have to identify the type of kidney stone your body is creating, is by using a filter when you urinate, this way you will be able to retain the stone and take it to your doctor so it can analyze it and define what type of kidney stone it is. Probably after testing the rock, your doctor will order you blood and urine tests to measure components in both fluids that can be enhancing the generation of kidney stones. Based on your results, your doctor will tell you which component has a higher concentration in your urine and is responsible for the creation of the crystals.

Kidney stones are not always made of the same components. Below you will find a classification of the different types of kidney stones.

– Calcium: The vast majority of kidney stone patients suffer from calcium stones. This is the most common type of crystal formation, affecting 80% of patients who have had kidney stones. They are made of calcium compounds such as calcium oxalate, phosphate or maleate. There are different health conditions that can cause the formation of these rocks, like hyperparathyroidism.

Having a diet heavy in foods rich in oxalate can cause the development of calcium kidney stones. These foods include potato chips, chocolate, spinach, and peanuts. However, there are some medicines that can help patients prevent the formation of calcium crystals.

– Uric Acid: Being most commonly developed by men than women, this type of stone is originated when the urine is too acidic. Often, this type of renal calculi can be developed by individuals suffering of gout, inflammatory bowel disease or going through chemotherapy.

Uric acid is a waste product that should get out or our bodies in the urine. When bodies are not able to eliminate this waste product, kidney stones are originated. Usually, this happens when you have a low urine output or a diet heavy in animal protein (especially red meat) and alcohol.

This type of renal calculi can also be treated with medicine which can help dissolving the crystals.

– Struvite: Causes mainly in women with urinary tract infection, this type of stone can be responsible for urinary obstruction, causing a terrible pain for patients who have developed struvite crystals.

What you need to know about the different types of kidney stones

Image courtesy of Adam Walker Cleaveland at flickr.com

People with kidney infections are the most prone to develop struvite stones, thanks to this, they are called infection stones. For this reason, it is very important to treat urinary tract infections properly and in time. Otherwise, the infection can become a more serious medical condition aggravated by kidney sore.

This type of stone is found generally in women with urinary tract infections. These stones can be large and cause urinary obstruction. These stones are usually developed thanks to a kidney infection. Treating an underlying infection can prevent the development of struvite stones.

Medicine can be used to treat the urinary tract infection, nevertheless, in most cases, struvite stones need to be surgically removed with laser procedures.

– Cystine: This is the most uncommon type of renal calculi, occurring only in individuals who suffer from the genetic disorder of cystinuria. This medical condition enhances the leaks of cysteine – a chemical substance that is normally produced in the body- from the kidneys into the urine. As it is a genetic condition, if you have a close relative who suffers from cystinuria, it is important for you to regularly test your urine and make sure that all levels are fine.

Cystine crystals can be prevented or dissolved with medicine, however, if the stone is too big and is blocking the urinary tract, it will need to be removed.

To read more about the different types of kidney stones and what originates them, you can click here.

As you can see, there are many things that can cause the creation of kidney stones, and there are different types of crystal formations that can be prevented. It is important for individuals to have healthy habits such a regular consumption of liquid (2 liters per day) and a healthy diet, especially if they already have a kidney disease that requires a special diet. It is important to notice that no one is exempt from getting renal calculi, therefore we all should try to prevent developing them.