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What You Should Know About Peritoneal Dialysis

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Peritoneal dialysis is one of several ways of removing waste from the blood when kidneys are no longer able to perform the job correctly. A tube called a catheter is used to send a cleansing fluid into the abdomen, filtering out waste. And after a certain period of time, the fluid flows out of the abdomen and is disposed of.

Chances are, you’ve heard of hemodialysis, a common form of blood-filtering procedure. Peritoneal dialysis differs in that you can give yourself treatments while at work, traveling, or in your very own home. This form of dialysis should only be considered if you either have the ability to care for yourself at home or have a reliable caregiver who can help. Keep reading to learn more about peritoneal dialysis.

Why Peritoneal Dialysis?

Dialysis is a necessary procedure for anyone who has kidneys that don’t function the way they’re supposed to. Kidney damage is something that usually takes place over many years, resulting from a number of conditions like kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis), multiple cysts in the kidney (polycystic kidney disease), high blood pressure (hypertension), or diabetes. These can culminate into kidney failure meaning your kidneys will no longer have the ability to filter waste from your blood. It’s at this point that you’ll be completely reliant on a dialysis procedure. But why would you choose peritoneal dialysis over hemodialysis? Let’s take a look.

Benefits Of Peritoneal Dialysis Over Hemodialysis

Independence

One of the primary reasons people opt for peritoneal dialysis over hemodialysis is the amount of flexibility and independence it offers you in your daily life. However, this also implies that you have a certain degree of independence already and are able to perform treatments without the help of a caregiver or medical professional. If you travel, work, or live far away from a hemodialysis center, this may be the best option for you.

Dietary Guidelines

Since peritoneal dialysis is performed every day as opposed to hemodialysis which is three times a week, there is less accumulation of sodium, fluid, and potassium. As a result, you won’t be as restricted in your consumption of these. It’s important to note, however, that there still are dietary guidelines, they’re just laxer compared to that of a hemodialysis patient. It’s important that you stay in contact with your healthcare team and follow the dietary guidelines they’ve set for you. If your sodium consumption is too high, you’ll be thirsty, which will lead to more fluid intake above the recommended amount, resulting in shortness of breath, swelling, and high blood pressure.

Stable Hydration And Blood Chemistry

Another benefit of peritoneal dialysis is that there is no need for intravenous access. In hemodialysis, since IV is required, you’ll have to undergo surgery that will allow for vascular access. With peritoneal dialysis, there is no threat of your circulation being disrupted or fluid levels changing.

Kidney Function

Although dialysis does not restore kidney function, peritoneal dialysis has proven to extend the normal functioning abilities of the kidney longer than hemodialysis does.

There are several things your doctor will take into consideration when deciding between peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. Your overall health, personal preferences, lifestyle, and current kidney function will all play a part. If you’re concerned about the disruption dialysis will cause on your lifestyle, have some remaining kidney function, or you aren’t able to deal with rapid fluid balance changes, peritoneal dialysis may be your best option.

On the other hand, there are a number of things that may prevent peritoneal dialysis from being a viable option. If you have limited ability to care for yourself, a hernia or scar in the abdomen, inflammatory bowel disease, protein malnutrition, or a critical illness, peritoneal dialysis is typically not recommended.

Speak With Your Doctor

It’s imperative that you stay in communication with your doctor during this process as well as take notes on what you learn. Dialysis can be a complicated process but it’s important that it’s done correctly for your well being.

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