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Dialysis is a renal replacement therapy. Kidney is an organ that can help to produce urine and purify blood. When kidneys are damaged, blood can not be filtered successfully and toxins in the blood can not be excreted out. Under such a condition, internal organs are damaged easily by these toxic substances. Dialysis is a medical procedure that can help to clear wastes away from blood, so when kidney function is severely affected for some reasons, dialysis is needed.
In medicine, there are different types of dialysis and the leading two are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis is more effective than peritoneal dialysis, but patients usually need to go hospital or nearby dialysis center to have dialysis. For peritoneal dialysis, it can be done at home by patients themselves, but without the direction or observation of doctors, side effects are caused easily. Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis have their own advantages in cleaning blood, so kidney failure patients need to choose the right one according to their condition.
Dialysis plays an important role for kidney failure patients and it is the only way for some patients to keep being alive. However, this does not mean dialysis is an ideal method. According to clinical studies, long-term usage of dialysis will cause many side effects like low blood pressure, headache, infection, restless syndrome, fever, itchy skin, nausea, muscle cramp and extreme tiredness and so on.
Dialysis is used to purify blood by kidney failure patients, so the content of toxins in the blood plays an impart part in deciding when to start dialysis. Healthy kidney can help us remove various wastes and toxins; when kidneys stop functioning, these wastes deposit in blood. Creatinine is one of the micromolecular substances that is mainly excreted through kidney, so by measuring creatinine level in blood, we can generally understand how many toxins there are in our blood.
Normal serum creatinine level ranges from 0.5-1.3md/dL. Dialysis is usually suggested when creatinine level in blood increases to 5. However, this does not mean all the patients need to do dialysis when creatinine level is as high as 5. Generally speaking, for patients with creatinine level higher than 5, if they have no obvious discomforts like nausea, vomiting, pulmonary edema and itchy skin, they need not to start dialysis.
Kidney failure can not be cured by dialysis, as dialysis only helps to purify blood, but can not repair kidney damages. In an affected kidney, there are healthy, injured and necrotic kidney intrinsic cells. Injured kidney intrinsic cells can be repaired with certain medicines like Chinese herbs, so kidney function can be improved to some extent. However, for necrotic kidney cells, they are dead and they have lost all their working ability. So far there is no treatment that can revive dead cells, so kidney failure, say Chronic Kidney Failure here, can not be cured.
Dialysis is applied to replace damaged kidney to filter blood, it can not help to regain kidney function, so when kidney failure patients stop to do dialysis, toxins will build up in the blood again. This is the reason why kidney failure patients need to do dialysis frequently.
Chronic Kidney Failure can not be cured, but impaired kidney function can be improved, so there is chance for kidney failure patients to stop dialysis. Generally speaking, when GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) is increased to 15, patients can stop dialysis under the direction of doctors. Besides, for some other patients, even though they can not stop dialysis successfully, their dialysis frequency can be reduced effectively after a comprehensive treatment.