If the kidney function decreases, this is often only noticeable at a later stage, as the kidney loss progresses slowly. If the kidneys cease to function, kidney replacement therapy is required. Especially since the balance of the mineral substances of phosphate and calcium no longer works. The kidneys can no longer or not sufficiently fulfill their main task, the purification and balance of the water balance.
Dialysis is a blood purification procedure that performs the functions of the kidneys, thereby depriving the body of metabolic products, blood salts and water. However, dialysis only takes over part of the normal kidney function.
Dialysis works on the principle of osmosis. Through a semi-permeable membrane, toxins leave the blood (higher concentration) to a lower concentration (dialysis fluid) until the concentration is the same on both sides.
In a dialysis treatment, the blood is led out of the body via a filter (dialyzer), cleaned and returned to the body. In this procedure, the dialysis machine controls the blood circulation outside the body.
The German Society of Nephrology (DGfN) recommends starting dialysis if kidney activity has decreased to 15% or less and/or if you suffer from severe symptoms (shortness of breath, rapid fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, etc.) due to your kidney disease.
Your doctor will advise you – based on your symptoms and your blood values – when to start dialysis. Since kidney failure often develops gradually and usually without symptoms at first, some people notice their declining kidney function only shortly before the start of dialysis treatment.
What is dialysis and how is it done?
What happens when someone is on dialysis?
How long can you survive on dialysis?
Why would a person need dialysis?