What risks may happen during dialysis treatment?

The limitations of medical science in the field of dialysis are still quite notorious. Although giant steps have been taken to carry out the therapies that we currently have to treat patients with chronic kidney disease, every day, great research and experimentation efforts are made to reduce the risks. Sadly, patients undergoing dialysis have many potential risks that could worsen their health situation. If we add some of the problems of contemporary medicine, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, things can get even worse. In this post, we are going to analyze some risks that have recently been discovered.

Low Uric Acid

There is not only a directly proportional relationship between uric acid levels and chronic kidney disease but with something even worse. It has been found that the significant decrease in uric acid levels in the body of patients undergoing dialysis is directly related to the risk of death. The uric acid is a residual substance, product of the processing of the purines which are that eliminated by the liver, by the intestines, and by the renal function of the body through the kidneys in form of urine. It is known that when the glomerular filtrate decreases, the concentration of uric acid tends to rise. However, Japanese researchers have also discovered that low uric acid aggravates the symptoms of chronic kidney disease to very dangerous levels. It is still an unresolved mystery, but statistics don’t lie.

High Iron levels

Likewise, an imbalance in iron levels may also mean a high risk for patients with chronic kidney disease subject to both peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. The main reason for this is that there is a direct relationship with cardiovascular problems that can trigger a cardiac arrest. It is an undeniable fact that patients have problems with normal iron levels in the blood. Naturally, due to the drastic change of diet and a decreased absorption of the intestines, the lack of this mineral in the body is just evident and expected. To prevent anemia and weakening of the immune system, doctors generally prescribe iron supplements. The problem occurs when the side effects of it are seen in the body. This is known as oxidative stress, and it means a direct and serious impairment of kidney function.

Read also: Learn more about the basic dialysis medicines and cares, by Joe Cosgrove

Sudden cardiac death

There is an alarming issue here. Of, approximately, half a million patients who must be treated for chronic kidney disease, almost two hundred and fifty thousand of them die from problems related to the cardiac system. Although no conclusive answers have been reached about why this phenomenon happens, doctors know that it is important to take care of the cardiovascular health of patients on dialysis because there is a high rate of sudden cardiac deaths among them. However, there are several ongoing investigations that seek to unravel this mystery of the human body to find effective solutions.

The most difficult thing is that sudden cardiac death has no clear early symptoms that can lead to a successful prevention so that doctors can act with enough anticipation. In addition, when the first symptoms of an imminent cardiac death appear, there is very little time to take actions to stop it. Actually, patients who show symptoms of sudden cardiac death (such as arrhythmias and ventricular tachycardia) die almost in an hour.

One of the known facts about this mysterious correspondence is that the risk of heart failure is closely related to the age of the patients and the time during which they have been undergoing dialysis therapy. This is one of the reasons why many doctors invest so much money and time in researching alternative means to treat chronic kidney disease or to improve dialysis failures and allow patients to have a better standard of living after they have lost their kidney function.


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Another major risk experienced by patients undergoing dialysis is the eventual presence of phosphate in the bloodstream. This is the cause of vessel damage due to the buildup of plaque, fats, and cholesterol in the arteries, which can harden and partially or completely block them. For this reason, when the amount of phosphate in the blood is high, doctors prescribe phosphate binders, which allow a later elimination of this compound, so that the organism of the patients remains in balance. Nevertheless, it is known that these phosphate binders may produce side effects in the patient’s body, such as the accumulation of aluminum in the brain and the bone system, which means a loss of mobility.


Peritonitis is the inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity (or peritoneum) that occurs in those who receive peritoneal dialysis. The main cause of peritonitis related to this therapy is the presence of bacteria during the dialysis procedure in the place where the procedure is conducted. For this reason, patients, doctors, and nurses should be very careful with the disinfection of the area and their own hands, and, on the other hand, patients should not abuse antibiotics so that the bacteria do not generate tolerance to these measurements.

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* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com