How to avoid starting dialysis sooner than expected

Although Joe Cosgrove has previously mentioned that starting dialysis is not the end of the world—in fact, he addressed the topic from different points of view including one major concern: how can individuals and patients under dialysis get the most out of life once they start the treatment?—. Many people fear that they will have to quit their jobs, or that they will have to dramatically change their lifestyles. The truth is, the onset of dialysis can be delayed to some extent. And although it is very tough to be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, if patients are diagnosed in the early stages of such condition, there certain steps and measures they can take to get the most out of their kidneys and prolong kidney function.

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Following a physician’s advice, it is possible to still enjoy a healthy life even with kidney disease. Following adequate and good health practices, staying on the job and continuing to enjoy other leisure activities and social events are ways an individual can overcome the apparent lack of control of their condition. Additionally, aside from following a physician’s advice in order to avoid starting dialysis sooner that expected, having a job with a solid health insurance helps provide security and other health benefits.

One thing is still certain: there are a plethora of causes that may cause chronic kidney disease; however, there is also a myriad of recommendations that, if followed properly, can help an individual delay kidney failure—which is what leads to dialysis and kidney transplant.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease in North America and other western countries are diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases have always been on the rise in the American country, which has also caused an increase in the number of patients who suffer from certain chronic kidney disease. The first step, of course, to control any type of CKD is by controlling the aforementioned conditions.

Diabetes and how to extend kidney function

People who suffer from diabetes need to mind their blood glucose levels. There is no shortcut. Blood glucose levels must be kept in an adequate range in accordance with physicians recommend. Additionally, hemoglobin A1C should be below 6.5%. And, of course, patients suffering from early stage chronic kidney disease need to have their kidneys tested at least once a year.

Research has shown that certain high blood pressure medicines are able to protect the kidneys of those who also suffer from diabetes, even they also have normal blood pressure levels.

The high blood pressure scenario

Individuals with high blood pressure—also known as hypertension—, should consult with their primary physician in order to get their blood pressure medicine. As recommended by the The National Heart and Blood Institute, it is recommended to have blood pressure under control (at 120/80 or even lower for those who have early stage kidney disease. For those who suffer from diabetes, blood pressure should be around 130/85.

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Other diseases commonly associated with chronic kidney disease

Aside from the previously mentioned diseases, there are several other conditions that can lead to suffering from chronic kidney disease: glomerulonephritis and lupus, for instance. These diseases affect the immune system, causing it to overact, which ends up affecting the kidneys (due to inflammation). In order to slow down the pace at which the kidneys deteriorate under these circumstances, a physician can prescribe certain medicines such as steroids.

Chronic kidney disease is also a direct consequence of certain infections and other medicines that happen to be detrimental to the organs. Infections, for instance, can be wiped out through the controlled used of antibiotics; certain medications, such as painkillers or antibiotics cause a negative impact on the kidneys: patients with these conditions need to be straightforward with their physicians about their CKD prior to initiating other treatments in hopes of avoiding a worse condition and prevent further damage.

Prolonging kidney function

Irrespective of how an individual develops chronic kidney disease, there are certain steps people can take in hopes of prolonging kidney function. Smoking, for example, is known for having a direct impact and correlation with the progression of kidney disease, therefore, and simply put, it is recommended that those with early stage kidney disease stop spending their money on cigarettes and tobacco. Of course, adopting a healthy diet, losing weight and working out are crucial activities that can act in the betterment of kidney condition. People with high blood pressure should also limit sodium in their diets: physicians believe that avoiding a certain amount of phosphorus and protein may also slow down the pace at which kidneys deteriorate; however, research continues on other foods—and even medicines—to see whether they act in the best interest of the health of the patient.

It is also important to remember that every CKD is unique. It is best to first address a physician and work out on a plan to prevent and slow down the disease while getting the most of life. It is perfectly possible.

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The Most Significant Early Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States of America. According to the American Kidney Fund, around 31 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease and men are more likely than women to have CKD. The leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, and that is why in some cases people fail to realize they have kidney problems until it’s too late. What seems to be a symptom of a different ailment ends up becoming the main health issue with many of these patients. One of the biggest problems with kidney disease is the psychological aspect that brings with it, as patients often feel like they are losing control over their life as their body doesn’t seem to respond to them, or acts in ways they aren’t familiar with.

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The kidneys are responsible for keeping the human body’s chemistry in balance, a task that truly takes a toll on these amazing organs. As resilient as they are, the kidneys often suffer due to many different reasons and eventually become overwhelmed with all the stress they must perform under.

Today in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog, we want to take the time to look at some of the most significant early signs that can let you know that you may be developing kidney disease, with the hopes that you can do something about it before treatment becomes necessary.

Changes in urine

Since the kidneys are the organs in charge of producing the urine, this byproduct will be one of the first indicators that something may be amiss. Changes in urine can be identified as those in the appearance of color and the presence of foam, and also changes in the frequency in which the patient urinates or feels the urge to do so but is unable to produce any liquid. In some cases, there may be a pain while urinating or also the presence of blood.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath may be present in the onset of kidney disease because the fluid buildup in the body can be so severe that it can reach the lungs, something that will undoubtedly affect a patient’s breathing. Anemia or the lack of red blood cells in the organism can be another reason why patients may feel a lot of difficulty breathing.

Trouble sleeping

If kidneys stop working correctly, they amount of toxins that build up in the body will reach dangerous levels and will start affecting the organism in many ways. Patients report having trouble sleeping due to a constant feeling of discomfort that cannot be easily identified, they simply feel like they can’t sit still and have a lot of trouble resting.

Dry and itchy skin

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Dry skin and constant itching are also symptoms of excess toxin build up in the body. Bone disease is also something else that may be present when kidneys fail, and constant itching is a clear symptom of that complication. Most of this happens because kidneys are losing the ability to properly balance nutrients, toxins, and minerals in the body.

Swollen joints

Swollen joints and general swelling are a sign that the body is holding excess water because they kidneys are not able to properly regulate bodily fluids, so they stay inside the body longer than they need to be. All of this is a side effect of sodium retention, something that happens because they kidneys are failing, and as sodium is kept in the body, so is water because it is retained by the sodium itself.

Puffiness around the eyes

If the kidneys aren’t working correctly, then things like protein will start to leak into the urine or other areas of the body. This together with excess fluids being retained is going to start showing in the face of the patient as swelling of the eyelids and cheeks.

Poor appetite

Patients with kidney disease will not feel the need to eat as much as healthy individuals. This is rather significant since these patients will still continue to gain weight even as they eat less everyday. The lack of appetite happens due to excess toxin build up in the body.

Muscle cramps

Electrolyte imbalance can start to manifest in the muscle by cramping and general soreness of the area. Low-level calcium and an imbalance in phosphorous levels make it, so they body is not properly using the fluids that it retains, and that can create painful muscle cramps.

Dizziness and problem thinking clearly

Another one of the symptoms has to do with mental acuity and the ability to think clearly. The brain may not be getting enough oxygen, and that is how it starts to show. Patients with kidney failure may begin to feel dizzy and have flash episodes in which they faint or lose balance. The ability to think clearly and solve simple problems starts to diminish as the body deteriorates.

Meet the future of dialysis!

For many years, the healthcare industry has doubled its efforts to offer better treatments to patients with an end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Joe Cosgrove knows that this hard work has helped millions of patients who probably wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t because they had the chance to receive dialysis treatment. Most patients who had a kidney transplant which is being rejected by their bodies couldn’t find a kidney donor are very likely to go on dialysis for a long time.

The entire dialysis process involves filtering the patient’s blood in a machine (dialyzer) that is supposed to perform the kidney’s major functions. A dialyzer removes waste and excess of fluids from the blood and afterward returns the cleansed blood back to the body. This way some mineral chemical levels are kept stable and the patient’s body is able to function normally.

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Why are dialysis innovations important?

Without the dialyzer intervention, it would be very complicated for patients with ESRD to survive. Nowadays, the market for dialysis devices reaches billions of individuals worldwide and it is expected to grow dramatically in the next 5 years due to the increase in the number of patients with diabetes and hypertension. Patients who need dialysis in the United States often are young adults or children who have certain responsibilities such as going to school or work. For this reason, the current dialysis methods don’t meet their needs.

The healthcare industry knows how important it is to work hard to improve the current dialysis methods in order to provide a better future for the growing number of patients worldwide. Developing more effective and portable dialysis devices would allow some patients to stay away from renal transplants and its associated complications. Also, for patients that are currently on dialysis, improving the existing systems will help them reducing the chances of having anemia, low blood pressure or infections associated with dialysis.

It is important to notice that today most dialysis patients prefer to go under a hemodialysis procedure instead of using the peritoneal one. However, both procedures should evolve in the future and offer patients the chance of using portable units or go under faster filtering processes. There are some advantages and disadvantages related to any of the dialysis methods. Nevertheless, improving the way they operate is supposed to have a positive impact on the life of the billions of people who depend on dialysis to survive.

Related: New dialysis technology designed to be more user-friendly for patients, staff.

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Leaders in the dialysis industry

There are some companies such as Fresenius, Outset Medical, Baxter, and NxStage who control the dialysis device industry and are working hard to keep their leadership position. These companies are constantly launching new products and expanding their business in a way they can serve emerging markets and the growing number of patients in both developing and most developed countries.

The diversification in economic conditions and technological developments have allowed different companies to increase awareness towards dialysis, forcing manufacturers to invest in research and innovative therapies for patients with ESRD. Some of the most important changes which are defining the future of dialysis are listed below.

Outset Medical: During the Kidney Week, Outset Medical introduced the Tablo in the U.S. market. This device is a dialysis machine built from scratch which is supposed to operate exclusively in dialysis clinics, offering them the chance of using a simple system. The Tablo is supposed to be ready for sale in spring. The company is also working to develop a self-care unit for home dialysis applications.

NxStage: This company aims to work for the future of peritoneal dialysis, improving their groundbreaking System One home hemodialysis machine. The company’s CEO seems to be very confident about the progress they are making around home hemodialysis systems, eliminating the need of using bags of fluid during the peritoneal dialysis process. This system is also expected to be launched this year.

Baxter Health Care: With their Amia PD cycler, Baxter aims to change the way peritoneal dialysis is performed. Through the usage of Amia, the company offers patients a device which is easier to use, is light-weighted and offers State-of-the-art technology so caregivers can be connected to patients by using a system that looks a lot like a GPS.

Fresenius Medical Care: This is probably one of the companies which offer the most futuristic alternatives for the dialysis treatments. By researching and developing materials to improve the sorbent qualities of devices, Fresenius has developed a new home hemodialysis machine in collaboration with the Swiss engineering firm Debiotech SA. This way, Fresenius has been able to offer patients a new product platform with dialysis machines that are compact, easy to use at home and lightweight.

In conclusion, dialysis patients are a number one priority for healthcare companies dedicated to developing dialysis systems. This will allow caregivers to be connected to their patients while they are empowered to use more sophisticated, effective and portable dialysis devices.