Could you have kidney disease? Know the signs!
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What is Kidney Failure and how and when does it occur? What are the signs and symptoms of kidney failure? What and how does dialysis occurs? Measure the signs of kidney failure by watching this animated explanation.
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Kidney failure happens when one or both kidney stops functioning normally. This could be due
to infection, shock or some accident. Wastes like urea, creatinine, uric acid and ammonium ions
remain in the blood system instead of being excreted. An accumulation of these substances is
toxic to the human system. If not treated in time, it could be fatal. The treatments available are
dialysis or a transplant.
Dialysis is also called haemodialysis or dialysis of the blood. It is a machine that eliminates
excess salts and nitrogenous wastes from blood by filteration. It does not absorb or secrete
anything. Transplantation is a major operation through which failed or dysfunctional kidney is
replaced with a healthy one.
During dialysis, the patient’s blood from the radial artery is passed into the machine and returned
to a vein in the same arm. The dialysis fluid is changed regularly to remove wastes and to
maintain a diffusion gradient between the patient’s blood and the dialysis fluid.
The dialysis machine contains the following parts; a steel tub with a filter filled with a warm
fluid set at 37 o C. As the dialysis fluid enters the blood stream directly, its temperature is
maintained at 37 o C in the tub, to suit the patient’s body temperature. The machine also has a
narrow tubular coil of cellophane with pores and a sterile dialysis fluid. The tubular coil of
cellophane is semi-permeable in nature, allows small molecules to pass through, prevents blood
cells and large proteins from leaving and provides large surface area for exchange of material.
The sterile dialysis fluid surrounds the cellophane tube and contains regulated amounts of
dissolved salts and sugars. This procedure has to be carried out until the kidney is replaced with a new one. Once a kidney fails, there are very rare chances of its healing.
Compared to dialysis, kidney transplant is associated with a better quality of life, lower risk of
death, fewer dietary restrictions and lower cost of treatment compared to a lifetime on dialysis.
You can keep your kidney healthy by keeping yourself active; maintain your weight, control
sugar level, blood pressure, avoiding over the counter pills, avoiding smoking and maintaining a
healthy fluid intake.
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