The kidneys act as filters for the body, removing waste from the blood and getting rid of it via the urine. If kidneys are not working properly, waste can build up in blood. Dialysis can help damaged kidneys by performing the task of filtering.
What is dialysis?
Dialysis is a way to artificially clean the blood if kidneys are no longer able to cope.
There are two main types of dialysis:
- haemodialysis, in which your blood is circulated through a dialysis machine for cleaning
- peritoneal dialysis, which uses the peritoneal membrane in abdomen (tummy) to filter blood allowing cleaning to take place inside the body
When is dialysis needed?
Dialysis is most often required due to kidney failure.
Kidney failure can sometimes happen over a short period (days or weeks) – this is called acute kidney failure – as the result of a serious illness or accident.
More commonly, kidney failure is the result of chronic kidney disease, where kidney function worsens over many years. Dialysis is usually started when the person affected is finding it hard to keep up with their usual life. At this stage, the kidneys are usually working only about 10% of how they should be working.
Dialysis must be done for the rest of your life, unless you have a kidney transplant.
How does dialysis work?
During haemodialysis blood is cycled through a special machine called a ‘dialyser’, which removes waste from your blood before pumping it back into body. The blood leaves and then returns to body through a needle, usually in arm or leg.
During peritoneal dialysis fluid is pumped into a space in abdomen called the peritoneal cavity. The fluid enters and leaves through a catheter, which is a thin soft tube about 30 cm long that stays in place permanently. Waste from the blood is drawn into the fluid through a membrane in abdomen and then removed from body.
Peritoneal dialysis can be performed manually (continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis) or controlled by a machine (automated peritoneal dialysis).
Life on dialysis
Although starting dialysis is a life-changing event, the goal is to leading life as normal and active as possible.
Dialysis can often be done at home and overnight, but depending on individual needs some dialysis may also be required during the day. This helps most people to continue to:
- play sport and exercise
- maintain a balanced diet
- keep social engagements
- have intimate relationships
- travel and take holidays
- Expensive as treatment repeated for long periods
- May cause blood clots/not clot properly
- High risk of infection
- Requires a restricted lifestyle
- Requires long amount of time connected to dialysis machine
Are there alternatives to dialysis?
Measures which can help to preserve remaining kidney function, A small amount of kidney function can go a long way to keeping patient feeling well and free of major symptoms. The natural tendency is for remaining kidney function to get slowly worse, but the rate at which this occurs can be reduced. Ensuring good control of blood pressure is important in this respect. Damaged kidneys are also more prone to further damage and some drugs can cause major problems. These include remedies that can be bought over the counter, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents [eg Ibuprofen and Diclofenac ], which are used for arthritis and general aches and pains. It is advisable to check with one of the doctors before taking any new medicines. Avoiding dehydration is also important, especially during episodes of illness such as diarrhoea and/or vomiting, which may be going round the family.
Experts say that herbal formulations in Neeri KFT could be an alternate to dialysis to some extent
Dialysis is a way of life for many patients suffering with kidney ailments in the country.
In view of limited options for treatment of the kidney disease in allopathy, experts representing the traditional medical system claimed that herbs could slow the disease’s progression and offer relief from the symptoms, along with careful diet and exercise.
Two recent scientific studies have claimed that herbal formulations, based on traditional medicinal plants like punarnava, could be effective in preventing and managing ailments related to the kidney.
According to a study, a woman suffering from kidney ailment was given punarnava-based formulation for a month, significantly bringing the creatinine and urea level in her blood to a healthy level.Besides, her haemoglobin level had also improved, concluding that the punanrva-based formulation not only improve the functioning of the kidney but also improve haemoglobin level.
Another study published in the Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, too, stated the efficacy of the punarnava-based herbal formulations, including lotus leaves, patharchur and other major herbs when given to the subjects.It was found that the drug had helped in maintaining histological parameter of kidneys, apart from reducing high levels of uric acid and electrolytes.
“The syrup (Neeri KFT) is a potent nephro-protective formulation, protecting kidneys from nephrotoxins, including oxidative damage induced by lead acetate,” the study said.