What is Dialysis?

What is Dialysis?

There is no doubt that dialysis is not an easy step to contemplate. However, it’s life-saving for individuals who have reached end-stage kidney failure. This means your kidneys are no longer able to do their job.

Mohammed Islam, MD, FACS, of Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC, is a vascular surgeon who uses his extensive medical skill to provide a wide variety of in-office services for conditions affecting the circulatory system. Dr. Islam and his team are often asked to provide dialysis access management for individuals preparing for hemodialysis.

Read more about the procedure and how it affects your dialysis experience.

What is dialysis?

Your kidneys play a vital role in maintaining your overall health. They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to remove excess wastes and fluid from your bloodstream. These wastes are then converted into urine and discarded throughout the day.

These two small organs also:

Kidneys severely damaged by disease or injury are unable to perform these functions. The National Kidney Foundation notes that dialysis typically begins when your kidney function declines to 10-15% of normal.

The most common type of dialysis, hemodialysis, utilizes an artificial kidney to take over some of these crucial functions by removing wastes and excess fluid from your blood.

What is dialysis access and management?

During hemodialysis, blood is removed from the body, filtered through the artificial kidney, and then immediately returned to your body by the dialysis machine. This process typically lasts about four hours. Most patients undergo hemodialysis three times a week.

Dialysis access points are required to get the blood from your body to the artificial kidney and back again via a small soft tube. This requires minor surgery that Dr. Islam performs here at our Vein and Vascular Solutions facility. Once the dialysis access point has healed sufficiently, it’s designed to remain in place for as long as you require dialysis.

Due to the force and volume of blood that flows through the access site, however, periodic management is necessary to ensure your dialysis site is still functioning normally. If blood flow decreases through the site over time, Dr. Islam may recommend minimally invasive balloon angioplasty to widen a narrowed vessel.

Our team supplies easy-to-follow instructions regarding routine home care for your dialysis access site and details symptoms that may indicate a problem. Note also that because it can take a dialysis site several weeks to months to heal and become strong enough to sustain adequate blood flow, the procedure must be completed long before you begin dialysis.

Is it hard to get used to dialysis?

Kidney failure leads to death. Although the treatments are time-consuming and take some adjustment in your schedule, the improved health you experience on dialysis makes it well worth the effort. 

Hemodialysis can be performed in a dialysis unit, which many people find more convenient than traveling to a hospital for their treatments. Also, the treatment is standardized. This allows you to undergo dialysis at any of the credentialed sites widely available when traveling in the United States or abroad.

To receive optimal health benefits, you must follow your dialysis schedule carefully. However, the treatments are essentially painless. You can use the time to catch up on your reading, chat with friends over the phone, take a nap, etc.

For more information about dialysis access, schedule an evaluation at Vein and Vascular Solutions NYC today.  Give us a call or request an appointment online.

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