When your kidneys fail, dialysis can take over for them, performing many of the same vital bodily functions as healthy kidneys. The team of board-certified nephrologists at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, either administer this life-saving treatment at their office or monitor your at-home treatment so you don’t have to go to a hospital. To learn more about dialysis, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Dialysis is a treatment for end-stage kidney failure that performs many of the same functions as healthy kidneys. If your kidneys are no longer able to filter salt, excess fluid, and waste from your body, control your blood pressure or regulate the levels of chemicals like potassium in your blood, dialysis can take over for them. People with chronic kidney disease who have gradually been losing kidney function eventually need either dialysis or a transplant.
Kidney failure is usually permanent, though in some cases it’s short-term and dialysis can serve as a treatment while your kidneys get better. However, if you have end-stage kidney failure, you’ll need dialysis for the rest of your life, or until you get a kidney transplant, if you elect to go on a waiting list for one.
Dialysis is not a cure for kidney failure. Its function is closer to a prosthetic, performing the same job as healthy kidneys. However, dialysis can improve your quality of life and alleviate many of the symptoms of kidney failure.
There are two types of dialysis, called hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, that work in different ways.
Hemodialysis is a type of dialysis that involves filtering your blood through a device outside your body called an artificial kidney or dialyzer. You’re connected to a dialysis machine through two needles in your arm that are connected to tubes. One tube removes blood from your body and sends it through the filter, which removes waste products the same way a healthy kidney does, while the other tube returns the filtered blood back into your body.
When you receive hemodialysis, you may come into Metro Renal Associates three days a week at a set time for treatment sessions that last three to five hours where the team will set up the machine and make sure you’re comfortable.
You may also get hemodialysis at home, using a machine small enough to fit on an end table. Home dialysis is more flexible and allows you to get dialysis more frequently and for longer, which is closer in effect to having healthy kidneys. You’ll likely have fewer dietary restrictions and need less medication. Though with at-home dialysis you won’t have ready access to the staff at Metro Renal Associates, you’ll have regular office visits to monitor your condition.
In peritoneal dialysis, your blood is filtered inside your body using a sterile cleaning solution, instead of passing through a filter and then back into your body. To prepare for peritoneal dialysis, the team at Metro Renal Associates implants a tube called a catheter in your abdomen, near your belly button.
During treatment, the dialysis solution, which includes water and salt, flows into your abdomen from a bag through the catheter and stays there for four to six hours. Once the solution is done filtering waste and extra fluid from your body, it drains back into the bag. The process of filling and then emptying your abdomen with the solution is called an “exchange.”
For dialysis treatment under the expert care of the team at Metro Renal Associates, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.