Kidney disease: Is dialysis the best treatment for different ethnicities?

by Abbas Adil

Although 78% of people with advanced kidney disease opt for dialysis, that is not always a viable treatment option.

Researchers from the University of California Irvine show certain ethnic groups have higher hospitalization rates when treated with dialysis rather than conservative management.

Kidney disease affects more than 10% of the global population totaling more than 800 million people.

If a person’s kidney disease progresses to where one or both kidneys start to fail, treatment options may include a kidney transplant or dialysis where a machine is used to carry out the waste-removing functions of the kidneys.

Another treatment option for people with advanced kidney disease is conservative managemen. This treatment does not provide dialysis. Instead, it focuses on treating a person’s symptoms and quality of life.

A research team from the University of California Irvine recently presented a study at the American Society of Nephrology annual conference Kidney Week 2022 showing that certain ethnic groups may have better hospitalization outcomes with a conservative management treatment rather than dialysis.

Conservative management vs. dialysis When a person has kidney disease, their kidneys are no longer able to properly remove waste and excess fluids from the body, turning them into urine There are five stages to kidney disease. A person reaches stage 5 when one or both of their kidneys fail or are close to failing due to damage to the kidneys. When this occurs, a person needs to make lifestyle changes to properly remove waste from the body.

One of these lifestyle change options is dialysis. About 78% of people worldwide with kidney disease have dialysis as a treatment option.

Through dialysis, a machine takes the place of a person’s kidneys pumping blood out of a person’s body, cleaning it of waste, and pumping the filtered blood back into the body. Dialysis occurs either at a hospital, dialysis center, or at home.

Side effects of dialysisSome people may experience side effects with dialysis, including: muscle crampssleeping issues depressionlow blood pressureitchy skininfection at the body’s dialysis access site

Although dialysis is a popular treatment option for advanced kidney disease, it is not appropriate for everyone. For example, people on dialysis are at an increased risk for heart failure.

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