Dialysis is a way to remove the waste products and extra water from the blood of patients with kidney failure. The two main types of dialysis are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
In hemodialysis, your blood is allowed to flow, a few ounces at a time, through a machine called a dialyzer. The dialyzer is a canister that contains thousands of fibers that filter out the wastes and extra fluid. The clean blood is then returned to the body through a different tube. Removing the harmful wastes and extra salt and fluids helps control blood pressure and keep the proper balance of chemicals like potassium and sodium in the body.
Adjusting to Hemodialysis
One of the biggest adjustments when starting hemodialysis treatments is following a rigid schedule. Hemodialysis is usually performed in a clinic under the supervision of a nurse and kidney specialist, and is generally required three times a week for about 3 to 4 hours each time. For example, a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule or a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule is possible. In addition, a morning, afternoon, or evening shift will be dependant upon availability and capacity at the dialysis unit. Options for scheduling regular treatments will be discussed when the treatment begins.