Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 01:44 pm

People with chronic kidney disease require dialysis or a kidney transplant. Fortunately, there’s a treatment for home-based dialysis…

Our kidneys play a critical role in filtering waste and excess fluids from the blood.

Sadly, chronic kidney disease (CKD), which occurs if the kidneys fail to filter this waste, is prevalent across Africa.

Our continent’s increasing obesity rates have been linked to the rise in CKD cases while and association between HIV and kidney disease has also been found as the virus infects the kidney cells.

Treat CKD as quickly as possible

“It is estimated that 10 000 South African men and women will die of kidney disease or kidney failure each year3. Possible complications of kidney failure include heart and liver failure, damage to nerves, as well as strokes,” explains Leigh Morton, renal unit manager at the Life Renal Dialysis unit based at Life Hilton Hospital.

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“This makes it critical to diagnose and treat as quickly as possible, and treatment typically requires intense renal replacement therapy (dialysis: peritoneal or haemodialysis), or kidney replacement (transplant surgery).”

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Dialyse at home

Peritoneal dialysis has emerged as a particularly convenient treatment option as it provides patients with the opportunity to dialyse at home.

“Peritoneal dialysis removes waste products from the blood when the kidneys can no longer do this on their own. This is done by draining a dialysis fluid into the peritoneum, which is the lining of the stomach. The fluid is left inside the body for some time to absorb excess salt and waste products and is then drained out and discarded,” explains Morton.

The benefits of peritoneal dialysis – as opposed to haemodialysis – is that it allows the patient to have greater lifestyle flexibility and independence as it can be done from home.

Peritoneal dialysis is also administered daily and doesn’t require intravenous (IV) access on a continuous basis, while haemodialysis is done up to three times a week and requires the patient to be treated at a dedicated renal dialysis unit.

“Peritoneal dialysis is an effective option for patients who want to maintain flexibility in their daily lives while undergoing treatment. However, it is critical to note that this form of treatment is not necessarily suitable for all patients and needs to be discussed closely with your nephrologist,” says Morton.

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This type of treatment forms part of the CKD treatment options available at selected Life Renal Dialysis units. Life Renal Dialysis, part of the Life Healthcare Group, encourages and emphasises the importance of education about the harmful consequences of CKD and consistently drives early detection initiatives to increase awareness and prevention of kidney disease.

“Various types of kidney disease exist, and further knowledge is required to ensure that the long-term effects of kidney disease are mitigated. The need remains for higher awareness and timely diagnosis to ensure the best patient outcomes for those living with chronic kidney disease,” concludes Morton.

World Kidney Day takes place on 14 March. For more articles on chronic kidney disease, click here

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