Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of chronic kidney disease. Both diseases damage small blood vessels in the kidneys, which prevents the kidneys from functioning properly. Kidney disease can also be caused by toxic drugs, polycystic kidney disease, and immune system disorders.
Your kidneys normally filter wastes and extra fluids out of your blood, regulate blood levels of minerals like calcium, sodium, and potassium, and make hormones that control blood pressure and maintain strong bones. Damage from chronic kidney disease affects all of these functions, but one of the most serious problems is the buildup of wastes in your blood.
There’s no cure for chronic kidney disease, so in later stages of the disease, dialysis is used to filter waste and excess fluid from blood. Two types of dialysis are available to those with chronic kidney disease:
During hemodialysis, tubes are inserted into blood vessels in your arm, then connected to a machine. Your blood slowly flows through a special filter in the machine that removes wastes and fluids, then clean blood is returned to your body. In addition to eliminating wastes, hemodialysis helps control blood pressure and maintains the proper balance of minerals like potassium and sodium.
During peritoneal dialysis, your abdomen is filled with a cleansing liquid. Sugar in the solution pulls excess wastes and fluid out of your blood, then the unwanted substances leave your body when the dialysis solution is drained. The procedure of filling and draining is called an exchange -- most people need multiple exchanges every day.
One type of peritoneal dialysis -- continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis -- involves a change of solution four times daily. A second type -- continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis -- uses a machine to automatically fill your abdomen, remove waste, and refill the fluid while you sleep.
You’ll need to have a soft catheter placed in your abdomen to accommodate fluid exchange for both types of peritoneal dialysis. The surgeons at General Surgical Care may insert the catheter using one of several procedures: open surgery or minimally-invasive surgery using a laparoscope or a needle and guidewire.
After the catheter is inserted, one or two cuffs are placed in the abdominal wall and/or just underneath your skin to hold the catheter in place. With the catheter in place, you can perform peritoneal dialysis on your own.
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