A lot of people in the United States suffer from kidney failure. According to the United States Renal Data Service 2015 Annual Data Report, it’s about 661,000 Americans. Of this, 468,000 are on dialysis while 193,000 live with a transplanted kidney.
The number of dialysis patients is significantly higher than kidney transplant recipients for obvious reasons. There aren’t enough healthy kidneys available and the costs for having the transplant operation done are so much more than twice-a-week dialysis sessions.
Hemodialysis may be life-saving treatment but there are also aspects of it that cause patient concern. This article will dissect what these are. But first, let’s understand what it does.
A Hemodialysis Primer
When the kidneys can no longer do the work they’re supposed to, a patient is usually placed on hemodialysis treatment. This involves the use of a machine that replicates what the kidneys were designed to do, which is filter wastes, salts, and fluids from the blood.
Hemodialysis is presented as a treatment course to treat advanced kidney failure.
When Successful, this Treatment can Offer the Following Benefits:
- Control blood pressure
- Maintain the proper balance of fluids and minerals
- Better quality of life
- Reduce the symptoms of renal failure including headaches and shortness of breath
- Improves appetite and sleeping patterns
- Boosts energy levels
Concerns During Dialysis
Patients need to go through a lot so they can enjoy the full benefits of hemodialysis. Once a given the go-ahead, patients must follow a strict treatment schedule, take regular medication, and make diet changes.
All these plus the toll that the treatment itself puts on the body can be a cause of concern for patients.
Research done by medical experts in Greece revealed that patients hooked to dialysis machines for regular treatments have varied concerns. But they definitely run across the board from psychological to financial.
Here’s an Excerpt from Concerns of Patients on Dialysis: A Research Study
“The most frequently reported psychological concerns of people undergoing hemodialysis are food and fluid restrictions, changes in marital role, financial concerns, changes in social and marital relationships, frequent hospitalizations, limitations in vacations, limitations in leisure activities, increased dependency on the artificial kidney machine, the medical staff and family environment, uncertainty about the future, sleep disturbances, physical fatigue, sexual problems, limitation in physical activities, unemployment and changes in body appearance…”
The Greek researchers’ findings only served to reinforce the idea that hemodialysis is radically life-changing. It can hurt the body and take a toll on relationships.
Support from loved ones is the one thing that helps dialysis patients weather the challenges brought about by this treatment.
Hemodialysis allows people with failing kidneys to go on with life. However, being hooked to a machine that cleans/filters several times a week does take its toll. The body goes through negative changes as a result of the treatment. The quality of life and relationships also go down.
Finally, dialysis treatments aren’t cheap so doing them can lead to a serious financial setback if one is unprepared.
All these weigh on a patient’s mind so it’s important to prepare for hemodialysis physically, mentally, and financially.
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