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What Is Hemodialysis and When Would I Need It?

What Is Hemodialysis and When Would I Need It?

About 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), and as many as 90% of those individuals aren’t aware they have the condition. That’s because CKD often causes few symptoms in its earliest stages, making it more difficult to detect on your own.

Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, CKD can quickly progress, eventually impairing kidney function to such a degree that the organs no longer filter your blood or produce urine. At that stage of the disease, hemodialysis becomes a necessary therapy.

With four locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas, Houston Kidney Specialists Center is a leading provider of hemodialysis both on site and in patients’ homes, using the most advanced technology to help patients stay healthy. In this post, learn some basic facts about hemodialysis, including how it works and when it’s prescribed.

Hemodialysis basics

Your kidneys serve as your body’s filtration system, removing wastes and excess fluid from your blood so you can excrete them in your urine. If your kidneys get impaired, the wastes and fluids build up, which can lead to serious and life-threatening problems. 

Hemodialysis uses a special dialyzer machine — sometimes called an artificial kidney — to perform the filtration duties normally performed by your kidneys. During dialysis, blood travels from your arm through a tube and into the dialyzer machine. The machine uses a special filter to get rid of the wastes and fluids. The filtered blood is then returned to your body.

Hemodialysis is usually performed three or more times per week either at our site, at another dialysis center, or in your home. Our team provides you with a prescription that tells you how many sessions you need each week and how long each session should last. 

When hemodialysis is used

Hemodialysis is typically used for patients with CKD that significantly impairs kidney function or in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) involving near-total kidney failure. In these instances, hemodialysis plays a critical role, performing the functions that your kidneys can no longer perform.

Hemodialysis may also be used in people with acute kidney injury (AKI), which is also called acute renal failure (ARF). AKI is a reduction in kidney function that happens very rapidly — usually within a few days or even a few hours. 

AKI is more common among people who:

In people with AKI, hemodialysis helps support the body while the kidneys have time to recover.

Make kidney health a priority

Kidney problems are more common among people with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, prior kidney damage, or a family history of CKD. If you have any of these risk factors, you should be screened for kidney disease.

To learn more about how CKD is screened and treated, call 281-429-8780 or request an appointment online with Houston Kidney Specialists Center today.

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