Type 2 diabetes damages the kidneys, sometimes to the point where they can no longer function well enough to keep you healthy. People with severe kidney damage require kidney replacement therapy. Hemodialysis is one type of kidney replacement therapy. Other types include peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplants.
What does it involve?
Hemodialysis is a process of filtering waste products from the blood using a machine as an artificial kidney, known as a dialyzer. Hemodialysis can be done at a dialysis center, in a hospital, or at home. If you receive hemodialysis at a dialysis center, you will likely need to go two or three times each week. Hemodialysis will take three to five hours each time you go. If you do hemodialysis at home, you may choose more frequent treatments (four to seven times each week) for shorter periods of time.
A few weeks before you begin receiving hemodialysis, you will receive minor surgery to create an access for the dialysis treatment. During the surgery, the doctor will either create a fistula or graft in your arm or place a catheter in your neck. When it is time to receive hemodialysis, technicians will place needles into the access and attach tubes that go to the dialyzer. During hemodialysis, your blood will go through the tubes, into the machine for cleaning, and then return to your body through the access point.
Your health insurance program may not pay for 100 percent of your hemodialysis costs. For instance, Medicare pays for 80 percent of the cost.
You may experience cramps, nausea, headaches, or dizziness during hemodialysis.
People who are receiving hemodialysis need to change their diet to prevent certain side effects. In general, you will need to eat more protein and limit your intake of certain nutrients.
Your access may become infected or develop a clot.
If you travel, you will need to schedule hemodialysis appointments in the areas where you are traveling.
After some time on either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, you may develop nutritional deficiencies, anemia, and bone problems.