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Complications of Kidney Dialysis

People going through kidney dialysis time and again also suffer from a lot of side effects and complications associated with it. This article focuses on the various complications of kidney dialysis and the side effects that might affect the patients.
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
Kidney dialysis is an effective treatment option to perform the functions of the kidney artificially when the kidneys are unable to perform them naturally due to failure. Most of the people suffering from end stage renal disease, wherein both the kidneys of the person cease to perform, go for kidney dialysis. The main function of the kidneys in our body is to filter out the waste products and excess fluid from the blood. These filtered waste materials and fluids are then stored in the bladder and excreted from the body as urine. However, when the kidneys cease to perform their functions, these waste materials and excess fluids remain accumulated in the body which can prove to be very fatal. Here is when the need of kidney dialysis comes into picture. There are two types of kidney dialysis (Haemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis) that are done in order to remove the waste products and fluids from the body. Both the techniques and the complications associated with them will be discussed in detail as the article proceeds further.
Side Effects of Kidney Dialysis
Be it any kind of kidney dialysis, Haemodialysis or Peritoneal dialysis, both are associated with potential risks and complications. However, the consequences of not going for a kidney dialysis are more fatal, than going for it. Mentioned below are some of the complications of kidney dialysis.
Complications of Haemodialysis
The most commonly known technique for kidney dialysis is known as Haemodialysis. In this technique, a needle attached to the dialysis machine through a tube is inserted into the blood vessel. The blood is taken from your body and is stored into the dialysis machine, and the dialysis machine in turn filters out the excess fluid and waste materials from the blood and sends the filtered blood back into the body. Reading the points mentioned below will give you a brief idea about the complications associated with it.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchiness in the skin
  • Sleeping problems
  • Body ache and discomfort
  • Diet restrictions
  • These individual also suffers reduction in the production of the hormone known as erythropoietin, which is responsible for formation of red blood cells. Lack of enough red blood cells can cause anemia, which is a result of blood loss.
  • The site of entry of needle during kidney dialysis can also lead to possible infection around the punctured site from where the blood comes out, filters, and re-enters.
  • Another complication associated with kidney dialysis is amyloidosis, which is a condition wherein the protein present in the blood ends up getting deposited in the joints and tendons. This leads to constant pain and stiffness in the areas.
  • Accumulation of fluids in the joints can also be a possible complication. In fact, if you are drinking more fluids than recommended, it can lead to further complications like heart failure or swelling in the lungs.
  • Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration can also be one of the complications resulting from kidney dialysis.
Complications of Peritoneal Dialysis
The other kind of dialysis is known as the Peritoneal dialysis. In this approach, a thin membrane inside your abdomen known as the peritoneum, is used to filter the blood. A flexible tube known as the catheter that leads from the dialysis machine, is attached to the abdomen by making an incision. Through this incision, a dialysis fluid known as dialysate (a special kind of solution) is passed on to the peritoneal cavity. Because, the peritoneum consists of various blood vessels, it filters the blood and transfer the excess fluid and waste products to the dialysis fluid, which is then drained out from the body through the catheter. Following are the complications resulting from peritoneal dialysis.
  • One of the most common side effect of this type of kidney dialysis is a condition known as peritonitis wherein the peritoneum gets infected due to bacterial infection.
  • If you end up getting peritonitis, then other complications associated with the condition like rapid heartbeat, less urination, dehydration, fever, and chills may be experienced.
  • Because peritoneal dialysis involves incision in the abdominal wall, the abdominal wall may weaken and this may lead to hernia.
  • Loss of appetite is another complication that may arise due to this kind of kidney dialysis. Most of the patients feel fuller due to the dialysis solution in their abdomen and therefore find it difficult to eat proper food which results in lack of nutrition, eventually affecting the person's health.
These are some of the most observed complications of kidney dialysis. The complications and risk may vary from person to person depending upon their health, age, and other factors that led to the kidney failure in the first place. Although there are potential risks involved, kidney dialysis is definitely helpful when it comes to artificially performing the function of the failed kidneys. This procedure definitely helps you live in a much healthy way when compared to living without the dialysis. You must consult with your healthcare specialist about your individual case so that all your doubts about kidney dialysis are cleared.