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Dialysis an Alternative Lifestyle Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 19th, 2018

Introduction

Dialysis is a concept that is applied in medicine. It refers to the process of replacing a kidney when it stops functioning properly. The kidney stops functioning properly because of renal failure. Dialysis is practiced to those patients whose kidneys fail to function properly. In the case of acute renal failure, patients may be stable, but their kidneys may stop functioning altogether.

This form of renal failure is referred to as End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD). In this case, the functions of the kidney decline after several years. This forces patients to seek kidney treatment so that they can survive (Stam 2). This paper will therefore look at dialysis as an alternative lifestyle.

Kidney treatment

There are various types of treatments that can be used to care for ESKD patients. The most common form of treatment that substitutes the lost functions of the kidney is kidney transplant. However, there are those patients who are not taken through the kidney transplant process because of medical reasons.

Moreover, other patients cannot receive kidney transplants because of inadequate supply of donor kidneys. In addition, other patients avoid kidney transplant because they argue that kidney transplant is not the best alternative for them. In this perspective therefore, most patients who have been diagnosed with renal failure should be subjected to dialysis to help replace the lost functions of the kidney such as water and waste materials removal (Stam 7).

Kidneys play a vital role in the body

Kidneys play a vital role in the body because they ensure that a person’s body remains healthy. When the kidneys are healthy, they ensure that the body maintains a proper balance of water and minerals. The various minerals that the kidney regulates in the body include potassium, chloride, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfate.

The kidney is also responsible for getting rid of the acid metabolism bi-products which cannot be removed through the process of respiration. Kidneys also play an important role in terms of facilitating the production of red blood cells and in the formation of bones. The drawback associated with dialysis is that it does not substitute the endocrine roles of the kidney (Henrich 15).

Kidney diseases have raised concerns all over the world

The rising cases of kidney diseases are raising concerns all over the world. This is because most health programs are being forced to struggle with the increasing demand for dialysis treatment. Most people in the world today are adopting unhealthy lifestyles which have led to increased cases of obesity. These issues have made a significant contribution to the rising cases of kidney diseases. Moreover, most of the world’s population is aging, and this has made renal disease to be regarded as an epidemic.

When the kidney fails a person goes through various life-threatening conditions. These conditions are mostly brought forth by the accumulation of waste products in the body. They make the fluid level in the body to rise significantly thereby leading to reduced production of urine.

Moreover, other conditions are observed such as cardiovascular disease, anemia, and traces of blood are also found in the urine. Extreme cases of waste products accumulation often lead to sudden death of a patient. Dialysis treatment is therefore essential in preventing the accumulation of waste products and therefore helps to clean the blood (Offer, Offer and Szafir 6).

Studies reveal that the market for dialysis equipment in the world has grown significantly. This is because of the increasing incidences of renal disorders. It is estimated that the annual rate of ESKD patients in the US and Europe is rising at a rate of 4-6 percent. On the other hand, the annual rate of ESKD patients in other parts of the world is growing at a yearly rate of 6-10 percent (Henrich 9). People with pronounced cases of diabetes and hypertension are the ones who face the highest risk of developing renal disease.

These diseases are becoming increasingly common all over the world. Experts stipulate that the world’s population is aging. The number of old people is projected to increase exponentially in the next two decades. Renal disease is common among old people. This is because they suffer from diseases that are highly related to renal disease. Moreover, old people experience functional changes in their kidneys thereby putting them at the risk of developing the illness.

The US market has the most renal equipment compared to the rest of the world. This is because the prevalence of ESKD cases in the US has grown significantly in the last decade. The treatment rate for ESKD cases in the US is twice the treatments that are carried out in European countries.

Most adults who are aged above 65 years old are the ones who are highly susceptible to the condition. Other countries such as China, Japan and Korea are also experiencing increased cases of renal diseases. The prevalence rate of the disease in these countries ranges from 10-18 percent (Stam 6).

The increasing prevalence of renal disease has made the demand for high-level services in clinics and hospitals to go up significantly. This is in order to enable them to provide dialysis treatment in an efficient manner. This trend has also played a major role in terms of broadening the gap between the number of nephrologists and the increasing number of patients. In this perspective therefore, a lot of pressure has been exerted on the existing resources.

Physicians are therefore required to cope with a big number of patients thereby lowering the quality of care being provided to the patients. This state of affairs is threatening the quality of care that is being provided to the patients. The renal dialysis equipment will therefore need to be adapted to the market changes thereby enable the equipment to manage the rising number of patients in a precise manner. Studies forecast that the global renal equipment will grow at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in 2012.

This rate is expected to grow and reach $ 14.3 billion by 2018 (Ronco and Dell’Aquila 17). Therefore, it is true that most health institutions will be forced to invest most of their resources in acquiring renal equipment to enable them provide adequate care to their patients. Moreover, governments will need to participate in funding health institutions so that they can manage to handle the rising number of patients adequately.

Alternatives to dialysis

Most people with renal disease are finding it convenient to adopt dialysis as an alternative means of survival. However adopting dialysis has been noted to act as a frightening transition for most of the patients who have been diagnosed with the condition. This is because people worry about whether they will be able to support their families while maintaining the renal equipment.

The physical symptoms of renal failure are regarded as devastating in the world today. The most common alternative to dialysis is kidney transplant. However, there are other alternative forms of dialysis that people can adopt so that they can adopt healthy lifestyles. Therefore, most smart patients usually weigh the impact of the different forms of dialysis before deciding which one to adopt.

They mostly compare different forms of dialysis treatment before deciding on the one that suits them perfectly. However, though it is possible for a person to change those alternatives, it is important for a person to conduct thorough research on the various dialysis options available in order to determine which form of dialysis fits their lifestyle (Ronco and Dell’Aquila 25).

Hemodialysis

When patients think of dialysis, hemodialysis is the common form of dialysis that comes into their minds. In this case, the patients are required to visit a dialysis center for specific days in a week. Whenever patients visit a dialysis center, they are normally hooked into a dialyzer.

The blood of the patients is made to flow into the dialyzer. The blood is filtered before it is returned back to the patient. Patients spend approximately 4 hours in a dialyzer whenever they visit the dialysis center. Patients are normally required to prepare for dialysis a few months before they visit a dialysis center so that they can allow the surgeon to match the patient’s circulatory system with the dialyzer (Offer, Offer and Szafir 32).

Graft and fistula access are the common forms of vascular access that most surgeons adopt. However, the National Kidney of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) recommends the fistula access (Stam 12). This is because it involves connecting an artery direct into a vein thereby enabling the vein to be become stronger.

Whenever the artery is connected to the vein, more blood is made to flow into the vein thereby making the vein to become larger. This has the effect of making future needle insertions meant for hemodialysis easier and faster. However, patients should be patient because the veins usually take a few months before they can become larger.

Graft access is the second type of venous access. In this perspective, a catheter is implanted into an artery in order to facilitate dialysis. However, graft access is not effective because catheters usually get infected. The benefit of this form of dialysis is that it can be used in emergency situations. Hemodialysis requires a patient to commit a lot of time to dialysis treatment thereby limiting the patient’s ability to travel long distances (Henrich 9).

Peritoneal Dialysis

The best alternative to hemodialysis is peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are two different concepts. This is because hemodialysis uses artificial filters whereas peritoneal dialysis involves the injection of the peritoneum that is found in the abdomen’s membrane. In this case, a catheter is implanted into the abdomen of a patient through surgical means.

The role of the catheter in this case is to remove impurities through the abdomen’s membrane. The catheter is allowed to accumulate the impurities for a period of time. This period is called the “indwelling period” after which the impurities are removed.

The process of adding and removing the impurities is referred to as the exchange. There are two ways of performing the exchange during peritoneal dialysis. These include the Continuous Cycler-Assisted Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD) and Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD). When patients are exposed to CAPD, they are expected to conduct manual exchanges for a whole day.

These forms of exchanges can be carried out in any place that is clean (Henrich 15). However, when patients are subjected to CCPD, they are expected to execute exchanges at night using a cycler. Most of the patients who prefer Peritoneal Dialysis do so because they are not limited to conducting exchanges in a dialysis center (Ronco and Dell’Aquila 34). However, peritoneal dialysis exposes patients to infections especially when they are allowed to perform dialysis on their own.

Home hemodialysis

This form of dialysis has become popular in the recent years. The patients who are subjected to home hemodialysis are usually provided with a dialyzer and then taught how to use it. However, the most difficult part of the training is when the patients are required to know how to perform ‘needle sticks’ (Offer, Offer and Szafir 23). This form of dialysis is carried out every night and it takes longer than other forms of dialysis. However, it is usually gentler on the body of a patient thereby making the laboratory values of a patient to normalize.

Conclusion

From the analysis therefore, it is true that dialysis is an expensive undertaking for most health institutions and patients. It is therefore important for governments and other funding organizations to ensure that they provide sufficient funds to medical institutions so that they can manage to provide their patients with effective and healthy dialysis treatment. This would improve the overall wellbeing of the patients with renal disease.

Works Cited

Henrich, William L. Principles and Practice of Dialysis. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009. Print.

Offer, Daniel, Marjorie Kaiz Offer and Susan Offer Szafir. Dialysis without Fear: A Guide to Living Well on Dialysis for Patients and Their Families. London: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Ronco, Claudio and Roberto Dell’Aquila. Peritoneal Dialysis: A Clinical Update. New York: Karger Publishers, 2006. Print.

Stam, Lawrence E. 100 Questions & Answers About Kidney Dialysis. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2009. Print.

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