THURSDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- If you're receiving kidney
dialysis, four new studies suggest that you could benefit from
longer or more frequent dialysis sessions.
The treatments can be done at home or at a dialysis center, but
it appears that more time spent doing dialysis can reduce mortality
rates and improve quality of life, according to the research
published online and in the March issue of the
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
"What all of these studies show is that the more time your kidneys are getting cleaned, the better off you are," said Dr. Robert Provenzano, chairman of the department of nephrology at St. John Providence Health System in Detroit. Provenzano was not involved in the research.
When someone's kidneys fail, the only options are dialysis or a
kidney transplant. Because there aren't enough donor kidneys to
give transplants to everyone who needs one, many people must turn
to dialysis. In dialysis, a machine takes over many of the jobs of
the kidneys, such as filtering excess fluid and waste. In the
United States, almost 400,000 people undergo dialysis every year,
according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). In 2008, fewer than 18,000 people
received a kidney transplant, according to NIDDK.
But, dialysis isn't perfect. It may not remove enough fluid, and
levels of important nutrients can get out of balance for people on
dialysis, according to background information in one of the
studies. In addition, people on dialysis have to eat a limited
Provenzano said improving dialysis is a big issue, and one of
the biggest questions has been whether more dialysis is better.
And, he said, "If it's true that more is better, is it longer
individual sessions or more frequent dialysis that's most
Previous research has suggested that longer dialysis sessions
seem to provide a benefit without increasing the risks of
complications. One past study found that more frequent dialysis
could increase the risk of problems with the dialysis access
Here's what the current studies found:
The bottom line, Provenzano said, is to "dialyze the maximum
amount of time you possibly can, based on your lifestyle. Get your
family actively involved in your care and, if you can, keep
working. Quality of life is significantly improved if you keep
working. Dialysis is not a reason to stop working or doing
activities. Stay active. You'll feel better."
Learn more about hemodialysis from the
U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive ...
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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