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Understanding Dialysis: Types, Considerations, and Quality of Life


Dialysis is a crucial medical procedure aimed at removing waste products and excess fluids from the blood when the kidneys fail to function properly. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various aspects of dialysis, including its necessity, duration, different types, advantages, and potential side effects. We will also explore how individuals on dialysis can enhance their comfort with specialized apparel and accessories while maintaining a good quality of life.

Why Dialysis is Necessary

When the kidneys lose their ability to effectively filter the blood due to advanced chronic kidney disease (kidney failure), dialysis becomes essential. Without proper filtration, waste products and fluids can accumulate in the body, leading to unpleasant symptoms and life-threatening complications. Dialysis steps in to filter out these harmful substances, safeguarding your health.

Duration of Dialysis

The duration of dialysis varies from person to person. In some cases, kidney function may improve, allowing for temporary discontinuation of dialysis. However, many individuals with kidney failure eventually require a kidney transplant. For those awaiting a suitable donor kidney, dialysis is a lifeline. In cases where a transplant is not an option, such as due to health constraints, dialysis may become a lifelong requirement.

Types of Dialysis: Haemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis

Two primary types of dialysis are available, each with its own approach:


Haemodialysis is the most common type, involving the following steps:

  • A tube is attached to a needle in your arm.
  • Blood flows through the tube into an external machine that filters it.
  • Filtered blood returns to your arm through another tube.
  • Typically, haemodialysis is conducted thrice weekly, with each session lasting around four hours.
  • Home-based haemodialysis options offer flexibility in scheduling but may require more frequent sessions.

Peritoneal Dialysis:

Peritoneal dialysis uses the peritoneum, the lining of your abdomen, as a natural filter:

  • A catheter is permanently inserted through a small incision near your belly button into the peritoneal cavity.
  • Fluid is pumped into the peritoneal cavity through the catheter, drawing waste products and excess fluid from the blood.
  • This process is performed multiple times daily, with each fluid change taking about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Machine-assisted peritoneal dialysis during sleep is also an option.

To read more about Haemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis, please click here.

Choosing the Right Dialysis Option

Selecting the appropriate type of dialysis depends on individual needs and preferences. Your healthcare team can help you make this decision. Factors to consider include treatment frequency, duration, and the choice between in-clinic or home-based dialysis. 

Introducing Dialysis Apparel and Accessories

Comfort is crucial during dialysis, and specialized apparel, including shirts and sleeves for PICC lines, can greatly enhance your experience. These clothing items are designed to provide easy access to treatment sites while maintaining dignity and comfort.

For more information on dialysis clothing and accessories, please click here.

Managing Dialysis Side Effects

Both haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis may lead to side effects. Haemodialysis can cause itchy skin and muscle cramps, while peritoneal dialysis carries a risk of peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal membrane. Fatigue is a common complaint in both types of dialysis.

Life on Dialysis

Despite the challenges, many individuals on dialysis maintain a good quality of life. If you are otherwise well, you can continue working, studying, driving, exercising, swimming, and even going on holiday. Although dialysis can only partially compensate for diminished kidney function, advancements in medical care have improved survival rates over the past decade.

In conclusion, dialysis is a life-saving procedure for those with compromised kidney function. Understanding the different types, managing side effects, and incorporating comfort-enhancing apparel and accessories can significantly improve your quality of life. Consult your healthcare team, stay informed, and explore options that best suit your unique needs. Remember, survival rates for individuals on dialysis continue to improve, offering hope for a brighter future.

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