On March 11, World Kidney Day focuses our attention on kidney health and encourages meaningful conversations to promote awareness of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and to express support for those living with this serious illness.
CKD occurs when a person’s kidneys become damaged and cannot clean blood as efficiently as healthy kidneys. This creates a domino effect within the body, resulting in more fluid in the body, and interruption of normal body functions which can lead to other serious health problems, including heart disease and high blood pressure.
According to the CDC, 15% of U.S. adults — roughly 37 million people — are estimated to have Chronic Kidney Disease. More alarmingly, nine in ten adults with CKD do not know they have it and one in two people with very low kidney function — who are not on dialysis — do not know they have it.
For these people, there is hope in recent medical advancements. More flexible dialysis options are available and can provide people living with severe CKD with more freedom and an improved quality of life.
Patients who either choose not to have a kidney transplant or do not qualify for transplant have the options of doing home dialysis or traditional in-center hemodialysis. Home dialysis includes both peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis is a process that removes fluid from the body as well as cleanses the blood and it is done daily. It may be performed manually every few hours throughout the day or via an automated cycler during the nighttime. Since the dialysis is done every day this method is the closest to simulating ordinary kidney function.