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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Image courtesy of Pietro Jeng at Pexels.com

Phosphates

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

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.

Recommended: Association of Dialysis with the Risks of Cancers

* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

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

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

Image courtesy of NelC at flickr.com

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.