Dialysis is a treatment that takes over the job of your kidneys when they fail. The kidneys perform many functions that help your body stay healthy. They help clear toxins out of your blood and help your body balance salt levels. Most people begin dialysis when their kidneys have lost 85%-90% of their ability. You may be on dialysis for a short time, or you may need it for the rest of your life. If you have kidneys that are not working and the damage is not reversible, you have end stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD is caused by conditions such as diabetes, kidney cancer, drug use, high blood pressure, or other problems. Dialysis is not a cure for ESRD, but it does help you feel better and live longer. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. This fact sheet will focus on hemodialysis.

Reasons for Procedure

The main functions of hemodialysis are to:
  • Remove waste and excess fluid from your blood
  • Control blood pressure
  • Keep a safe level of salts in the body, such as potassium, sodium, and chloride
It may also be done to remove toxins from the bloodstream quickly. It can be used in cases of poisoning or drug overdose.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
  • A drop in blood pressure during hemodialysis
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Infection
  • Feeling hot, sweaty, weak, and/or lightheaded
  • Inflammation of the heart sac—pericarditis
  • Neurological problems
  • Disruption of calcium and phosphorus balance, resulting in weakened bones
If you have heart problems, this may increase your risk of complications from hemodialysis.

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics: Health And Healing
Meet Our Health Experts
beginners heart

Beginner's Heart

Britton Gildersleeve
thinking of lost boys
Simply Fabulous

Simply Fabulous

Jennifer Baxter
Neutralize that Negativity


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »