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How to Live a Normal Life with Dialysis
(JANUARY 2014) Dialysis mimics a person’s kidneys through artificial diffusion of waste and filtration of water from your body. If a person with damaged or failing kidneys goes on without dialysis, it can be fatal.
There are two types of dialysis:
- Hemodialysis – Also called, “the artificial kidney.” The blood of the patient is pumped through a machine with special filters which remove waste and excess water from the blood. Once filtered, the blood is reintroduced back into the body. This procedure can be done at a treatment center or in the home, but with special instructions.
- Peritoneal dialysis – A tube called a “dialysis catheter” is positioned through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity. A special fluid is then flushed into the person’s abdominal cavity to wash the intestinal walls. The intestinal walls will filter between the special fluid and the blood to remove waste and extra water from the body. This method of dialysis takes longer, but is much less technical than hemodialysis; making it the preferred option for home dialysis.
So how do you live a normal life with dialysis?
- Keep positive and focused. Remember, dialysis is just a temporary solution while you wait for a kidney transplant. Staying healthy and strong through your ordeal will give you a better shot at receiving and accepting a donor kidney.
- Take time to plan things out. There are doctors and clinics located everywhere that can accommodate your needs. Just plan out when you’re traveling or doing things that might be restrictive.
- Be mindful of your diet. The more toxins you put into your body, the more waste you’ll produce. More waste means longer dialysis treatments. Keeping to a healthy diet will ensure your extra time isn’t stuck doing dialysis and will help prevent some common dialysis side effects.
- Don’t hide the fact you’re on dialysis. Let people know when you’re away from home so they can accommodate you. It’s best to have a medical ID bracelet that identifies what type of dialysis you’re on and your emergency contact information.
- Look into overnight dialysis cyclers that remove waste from your body while you sleep. What better way to leverage your sleeping time when you’re on dialysis?
- Be around friends and family. They will support you while you’re going through this ordeal. You’ll find the most energy being around these people.
Dialysis shouldn’t preclude you from savoring the joys of live. It doesn’t mean your life has to be isolated to a hospital bed. Be positive and look forward to the future.