Dialysis Renal Failure Term Paper

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Dialysis/Renal Failure

WHEN the KIDNEYS FAIL

Management and Implications of Renal Failure

Kidneys are fist-sized, bean-shaped organs, which are located at th lowest part of the rib cage and the sides of the spine (National Kidney Foundation, Inc. 2003). Their major function is to remove waste products and excess fluids from the body in the form of urine. The production of urine consists of excretion and re-absorption, necessary to maintain a stable chemical balance. The kidneys also regulate the salt, potassium and acid content of the body. They produce many hormones, which affect other important organ functions. One of these hormones, for example, stimulates the production of red blood cells. Others help regulate blood pressure and the processing of calcium. The kidneys likewise eliminate chemicals, balance body fluids and produce a form of Vitamin D, which makes the bone strong and healthy. Damage to the kidneys or reduced kidney functions can constitute chronic kidney disease or CKD. Protein in the urine for three months or more, for example, signals kidney damage. A glomerular filtration rate of lower than 60 for three months or more signals CKD. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main causes of CKD. These may be inherited or congenital. Untreated CKD may lead to kidney or renal failure. The condition may need to be treated with dialysis or Kidney transplantation (National Kidney Foundation, Inc.).

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Chronic renal failure consists of a progressive loss of kidney function from disease or another cause (Cannon 2004). It eventually leads to end-stage renal disease. Diabetics have the highest risk of developing chronic renal failure or CRF. Statistics reveal that approximately 3 million Americans will suffer from CRF by 2008. At present, CRF accounts for 50,000 annual deaths in the U.S. CRF is quite expensive to treat because of the costs of dialysis. Early diagnosis, aggressive management and treatment can retain kidney function and prevent or the progression of CRF to the end-stage (Cannon).

Term Paper on Dialysis Renal Failure Assignment

Psychosocial and Physiological Changes - a study of 147 long-term renal failure patients, who were on dialysis, identified depression as the strongest predictor of death (Anderson 2005), it also significantly correlated with two-year mortality. Findings revealed that 70% of the patients experienced depression, high anxiety, self-depreciation, introversion and hypochondriasis. Mental, neurological, hormonal functions are interwoven and unified systems. Their unity encompasses biofeedback and voluntary controls. It impacts thought and beliefs, past and present stress, placebo, social relationships and patient response to medication, strongly prompting the use of a holistic approach (Anderson).

Physiological changes or conditions resulting from kidney failure include anemia, osteodystrophy, itching or pruritus, sleep disorders and amyloidosis (National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse Center 2000). Diseased kidneys do not produce enough the hormone erythropoietin or EPO. This hormone stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Hence, the bon marrow produces fewer of these. Renal osteodystrophy makes the bone thin and weak or deformed. Growing children with kidney failure exhibit this change visibly. Patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis complain of skin itchiness. The condition is worse during or right after treatment because of uremic toxins, which the procedure does not sufficiently remove. They also suffer from sleep apnea, which disturbs sleep and can lead to so-called "day-night reversal." They are unable to sleep because of uncomfortable or "restless" legs. Dialysis-related amyloidosis is common among patients undergoing dialysis for more than 5 years. This happens when th proteins in the blood deposit on their joints and tendons cause pain, stiffness and fluid (NKUIDCC).

Hemodialysis is one of the two treatment options of a patient who enters the end stage (Cannon 2004). The other is kidney transplant. Dialysis performs the function of the kidneys but does not cure the disease or prevent possible complications. It may even cause those complications and even reduce one's quality of life. Hemodialysis sends the blood through a dialyzer and goes back to the body after eliminating toxins and excess fluid. It is usually done thrice a week, each time for 3 to 5 hours or more. Common negative reactions are fluid and electrolyte imbalances, hypotension, light-headedness, leg cramps, nausea and vomiting. The other type is peritoneal dialysis, which uses the peritoneum to filter the blood without removing it from the body. It uses dialysate, which is later drained through a peritoneal catheter. Peritonitis is the most common complication (Cannon). A study of 336 hemodialysis and 185 peritoneal dialysis patients undergoing both types found that peritoneal dialysis was a preference 1.5 times more (Wellbery 2004). The… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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