Dialysis: A life-saving answer to kidney disease

Although accurate statistics are not available in SA, hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus (in line with worldwide trends) are the dominant diseases associatedwith end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), particularly in black ethnic groups².

Kidney diseases attack the nephrons, the tiny filtering units within the kidneys, which lose their filtering capacity. This can be caused by diseasessuch as inherited Hypertension or Type 2 Diabetes. Most kidney diseases destroy the nephrons slowly and silently. Kidney damage can however manifest quickly – often as a result of genetic disorders, severe dehydration, abuse of anti-inflammatories and over the counter drugs.

As kidney function diminishes, waste products and fluid buildup in the bloodstream. Dialysis, which removes some of the patient’s blood, filters it and returns it to the body, then becomes anecessity and is often used as a life-saving treatment option. Dialysis is beneficial for patients that suffer from acute renal failure (temporary loss of kidney function), or for fairly stable patients who have permanently lost kidney function (stage 5 chronickidney disease).

In the event of chronic kidney disease (CKD), treatment focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. CKD can progress to end-stage kidney failure (stage 5), a conditionrequiring on-going artificial filtering of the blood (dialysis) or a kidney transplant. Most patients who require chronic dialysis visit a treatment centre several times a week, sometimes even until transplantation may happen.

“Kidney disease can be stealthy as it often goes undetected since there are no obvious symptoms prior to kidneys decompensating”, says Dr Riyas Fadal, Life Renal DialysisNational Manager.
“There are two main types of dialysis – haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Haemodialysis, a treatmentoption for people suffering from kidney disease, uses a dialyser (also referred to as an “artificial kidney”) to remove excess fluid and waste products from the blood to correct electrolyte imbalances,” says Dr Fadal. The treatment can be carried out either by the patient at home or by travelling regularly to a dialysis unit and requires two to three sessions per week.

Dr Fadal explains that peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdominal cavity (the space in your body that holds organs like the stomach, intestines, and liver) to filter the blood. This treatment is done daily and is prescribed by yourdoctor if specific criteria are met.

Patients with renal failure must adjust to life on dialysis which can be disruptive to their usual daily routine with frequent visits to the renal dialysisunit. For many patients, their renal dialysis unit becomes their second home, where they spend almost half of their week, every week, and will do so for the rest of their lives unless they are fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant.

Life Renal Dialysis offers patients a comfortable, caring and friendly environment staffed with experienced and compassionate renal care professionals. “This positively impacts thewell-being of the patient during dialysis itself and also significantly influences the patient’s medical condition and their quality of life. The latest technology in dialysis machines are utilised and selected units offer nocturnal dialysis sessions, wherethe patient is dialysed at night, allowing patients a good night’s sleep and the ability to return to work the next day,” added Dr Fadal.

“Many people aren’t aware of the symptoms of kidney disease and early detection is key in avoiding the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant if treated soon enough.By ensuring regular visits with your Doctor and avoiding lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, you can protect your kidneys from irreversible damage,” concludes Dr Fadal.

For more information visit https://www.lifehealthcare.co.za/patient-information/patient-services/complementary-services/life-renal-dialysis/

Fast Facts3:
• Kidney failure in South African adults is primarily due to inherited Hypertension or Type 2 Diabetes
• Kidney failure in the black population is four times higher than other groups – due to the high incidence of Hypertension.
• Hypertension and Diabetes can be prevented, diagnosed early and properly treated. In doing so, potentially 70-80% of all chronic kidney failure and /or cardio-vascular deathsare preventable.

Symptoms of kidney failure may include:
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Frequent need to urinate, especially at night (which grows with time)
• Itchy skin
• Nausea
• Shortness of breath
• Erectile dysfunction (men have difficulty getting and/or sustaining an erection)
• Water retention (swollen feet, hands, ankles)
• Blood in the urine; and or
• Protein in the urine

About Dr Riyas Fadal:
. Riyas Fadal is the National Manager of Complementary Services at Life Healthcare and is passionate about promoting accessible, quality healthcare in the privatesector, as well as crafting innovative health care delivery models through the combination and application of specialist health care experience. Dr Fadal is a registered General practitioner and is qualified in sports medicine. Dr Fadal holds an MBA (cum laude)from WITS and has completed international training in health systems at UCLA and Barcelona School of Economics.

About Life Renal Dialysis Units:
nal alysis is a specialised healthcare service providing acute and chronic renal dialysis for patients at 22 renal dialysis units across South Africa. Thesespecialised services assist patients with renal failure who require out-patient based chronic renal dialysis or home based peritoneal dialysis; or acute renal dialysis in hospital. Life Renal Dialysis units offer state of the art dialysis machines and equipmentthat can perform different modalities of dialysis and while this is reassuring for our patients, our first priority is to help educate patients about the treatment procedures and ensure that they receive the best possible care at all times.

About Life Healthcare Group:
The Life Healthcare Group is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and its head office is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is one of the largest hospitalgroups in the country and has more than 32 years’ experience in the private healthcare industry. The company’s primary business is private acute hospital care available through 64 healthcare facilities located in seven of South Africa’s nine provinces as wellas one hospital in Botswana. In addition the Group provides services for a range of complementary healthcare services including acute physical rehabilitation, acute mental healthcare and renal dialysis. Life Employee Health Solutions, a division of the Group,also provides both occupational health and employee wellness services to private and public employers. The Group has a significant an international presence through Alliance Medical Group (UK and Europe); Scanmed S.A. (Poland) and Max Healthcare (India).

For more information visit www.lifehealthcare.co.za