When healthy kidneys fail, serious complications arise: the body retains fluids and harmful wastes, blood pressure rises, and the body cannot make enough red blood cells. Hemodialysis is one treatment for kidney failure, in which a machine called a dialyzer, or filter, is used to clean the blood by filtering out wastes and extra fluids. It controls blood pressure and maintains the body's homeostasis, or proper balance of elements such as potassium sodium and chloride.

How is Hemodialysis Performed?

Hemodialysis entails the use of a machine, a dialyzer, to remove and filter wastes from the blood. This process helps control blood pressure and regulate the levels of minerals, salts, and fluids in the body.

Hemodialysis can be done at home or at a hemodialysis center. It is usually done three times a week, and each treatment takes from two to four hours. Some people experience side effects from dialysis, and these should be discussed with your physician. It is important to maintain a proper diet and take prescribed medications while on dialysis.

Adjusting to hemodialysis is a significant matter, and there are many potential adverse effects and complications. To achieve optimal results from hemodialysis, it is very important to learn how to care for yourself and to adhere to the required schedule.

Good information on hemodialysis may be found at:

Treatment Methods for Kidney Failure: Hemodialysis


Peritoneal Dialysis

An alternative to hemodialysis is peritoneal dialysis, which removes extra water, wastes, and chemicals from the body. It works by passing a cleansing solution, called dialysate, into the lining of the abdomen, called the peritoneal membrane. After several hours, the dialysate is drained out of the abdomen, along with blood wastes. There are three types of peritoneal dialysis—continuous ambulatory (CAPD), continuous cyclic (CCPD), and intermittent (IPD). This type of dialysis has its own dietary requirements.

A good explanation of peritoneal dialysis (PD) may be found at:

Treatment Methods for Kidney Failure: Peritoneal Dialysis


Beyond Dialysis

While hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis both offer life-saving options to many patients with chronic kidney failure, they still cannot replicate the kidneys' hormonal benefits. Given the inconveniences and adverse effects associated with dialysis, many patients find that dialysis does not provide the level of health maintenance they desire.

Kidney transplantation has proven to be the one way to recover the quality of health, and quality of life, enjoyed before the onset of end-stage renal disease. Also, kidney transplantation yields a longer life expectancy than dialysis. With the expanded availability of organs from living donors, pre-emptive transplantation now enables individuals to avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of dialysis altogether.