What is Dialysis?

While humans in today’s day and age have no particular use for organs such as the appendix, almost all of the other organs that the human body consists of are vital to the sustenance of life. A person certainly can’t survive without, say, their heart, their lungs, or their kidneys. The kidneys are two of the most important organs in a person’s body, and like all of the other parts of the human body, the kidneys are also susceptible to genetic defects, damage and complete failure.

The kidneys are responsible for providing all the waste material and unwanted water in a person’s body with a way out, which is why it would be utterly terrible for a person if their kidneys were to no longer be capable of carrying out their function. Fortunately, the function of the kidneys is one that can be carried out and maintained artificially, unlike the function of organs such as the heart. The process of artificially filtering waste and unwanted water out of a person’s body using specially designed medical equipment is what the world knows as ‘dialysis’. Dialysis is the man-made replacement to natural kidney function and is a lifesaver for anyone and everyone whose kidneys are no longer capable of carrying out their function.

Dialysis is the go-to mode of renal replacement therapy, a therapeutic measure that aims to artificially carry out the renal functions that would have otherwise been undertaken by the kidneys. Every day, the kidneys filter around 1,500 liters of blood and remove any and all waste materials or harmful elements that the blood may contain. Failure to remove waste and toxins from the bloodstream can slowly result in death, which makes the functions of the kidneys integral to the sustenance of human life. The process of dialysis is designed to quickly rid the person’s body of toxins, drugs and waste when their kidneys cannot do so.

Dialysis is prescribed for three distinct kinds of patients – those who have become ill in a way which has left their kidneys unable to carry out their function, those who suffer from acute kidney failure (which is temporary), and those who are stable but suffer from a permanent loss of kidney function (aka stage 5 chronic kidney disease).

Type of Dialysis

There are two kinds of dialysis – hemodialysis in which the patient’s blood is circulated through a machine that contains f various filters and purifies their blood, and peritoneal dialysis in which a sterile solution (which is known as dialysate and is capable of absorbing waste) that mainly consists of glucose and minerals is injected into the peritoneal cavity and left there for a sufficient amount of time.

The main functions of the kidneys are to regulate and adjust the levels of minerals and water in the human body, filter all the waste and harmful toxins or drugs out of the bloodstream and produce erythropoietin and 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol as part of the body’s endocrine system. Dialysis cannot replicate the functions that the kidneys carry out as part of the body’s endocrine system, but what dialysis can do is take responsibility for the kidneys’ relatively more vital functions which include waste and toxin filtration and fluid removal.

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