Dialysis keeps alive an estimated 354,000 Americans who suffer from end stage renal disease. Dialysis becomes an ongoing and integral part of their lives, with a kidney transplant the only hope for breaking the routine (and staying alive).
In hemodialysis, blood flows, a few ounces at a time, through a special filter that removes wastes and extra fluids. The machine then returns clean blood to the body with the harmful wastes, extra salt and fluids removed. This helps control the patient’s blood pressure and maintains the proper balance of chemicals like potassium and sodium in the body.
Dialysis typically consists of a three-time a week regimen. Failing to show for an appointment has serious repercussions: even one missed session can result in excess fluids in the lungs, bloating and even death.