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The Effect of Long Term Dialysis on the Body

written by: Ms Lisa • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 3/28/2011

Curious about the effect of long term dialysis? Let us explore the effects of the kidney dialysis for someone with renal failure. Soothe your apprehensions here.

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    Overview

    When your kidney fails to fulfill its blood cleaning duty, your body will have to face its drastic and even fatal consequences. Blood pressure can rise, while the wastes and excess fluid in your body will stay in the bloodstream. This is similar to your body being attacked from the inside, putting your immunity and well being at stake.

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    Historical Perspective

    According to the Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation, long term dialysis was started in 1960 as a treatment for chronic renal failure. Also known as long-term hemodialysis, the efforts of scientists and doctors from the University of Washington led to the invention of the Teflon arteriovenous, a critical component of long term dialysis.

    Since then, this type of treatment became more accessible, most notably in the United States. As more centers acquire the needed equipments, the volume of patients that undergo long-term hemodialysis also increased. However, certain side effects have been noted, and this put a cloud of doubt to this method of kidney failure medication.

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    Negative Flipside

    There is no denying the positive effect of long term dialysis, but as the body is continually exposed to foreign chemicals as well as waste products from the kidneys, it is expected that its function will be severely compromised.

    But beyond the negative side effects, it is important to remember that dialysis is only meant for maintenance. Meaning, it cannot replace the critical function of this particular organ. For example, it will not provide a means to regulate one’s rising blood pressure, nor can it assist in the production of red blood cells.

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    Effects for Life

    On a more positive note, long term dialysis is actually more preferable than the short term option of peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that uses the patient's own body tissues to act as a filter. This is considered to have a higher chance of infection being transferred to the dialysis patient.

    Still, it will be helpful to cover your grounds when choosing to go with the long term treatment. Dementia, heart disease, iron deficiency, and even nerve damage are possible if a patient will be subjected to long bouts in hospitals and dialysis solutions.

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    Alternatives

    Healthcare professionals, medical journals, and modern research continue to affirm the negative side effect of long term dialysis, whether long term or its shorter equivalent. The mere act of opening the abdominal cavity to foreign bodies put other organs at risk, not to mention the range of side effects that this condition brings.

    Sadly, the only viable alternative to dialysis would be a kidney transplant. If you will choose this path of treatment, be ready for a long wait. Aside from the scarcity of kidneys that are available for transplant, you will have to find a kidney that fits your body and its many functions. More often than not, the best option for a transplant is a relative. Though there is evidence that normal functions can be regained with only one kidney, such a decision must be weighed carefully. At the best, a patient afflicted with chronic renal failure will live longer, but with complications.

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