Friday, February 16, 2007

Dialysis vs. kidney failure

In Malaysia, the popularity of dialysis has reached a point that is worrying. The people should be left puzzled with the question how easy it is for someone to be diagnosed dialysis is the treatment needed. The government and the society as well seem to give us an impression that Malaysia is lacking of dialysis facilities and that Malaysia has to build more such facilities to help needy patients. This is an alarming signal. What should be taken note is that if this has created a misleading conclusion that dialysis is the best solution to many kidney related diseases. In fact, dialysis should only be regarded as the last resort when all have failed to help to remove waste products and excess fluids from the body. We must wonder if enough has been done to create more awareness about the suitability of dialysis for certain patients.

Is it true that dialysis should always be the last resort to treatments? The answer to this question is YES. One should always try his/her best to stay healthy to keep normal kidney functions. Dialysis should only be the last resort if all other treatments fail to get rid of waste products and excess fluids from our bodies. Kidneys work hard when the body is counting on them to remove toxins and excess water, even when their functions have gone weaker. When dialysis kicks in, however, kidneys no longer have to work so hard. They then tend to lose their natural healing power to restore the functionality. And sooner than not having dialysis, the kidneys reach their failure stage.

Dialysis is a two-edged sharp blade. It can help, so can it destroy. It depends on if we know when and when not to use the tool. For temporary relief of removing waste products and excess fluid, it serves its purpose fine. For long term usage, most patients on it hardly live through 5 to 10 years lifespan. Some say one doesn’t have to be on dialysis forever, once the kidney functions get back to normal, a patient can then stop the process. This saying sounds good and promising. But how many patients could have their kidney functions recovered once they are on long term dialysis? Not many. In the end, it’s an empty promise.

Having more dialysis centers helps only terminally ill patients, but they can never be the cure to kidney related diseases. Prevention is always better than cure. We individual must seek to understand, learn how our bodies function so as to eat and live in a healthy manner. What we eat and do everyday leaves our bodies full of waste products. Shouldn’t we be eating and living healthier and with proper knowledge to ease the load on kidneys and other organs? For examples, take low-protein food to reduce acidity of the body, stay low on orange, star fruit, kiwi, banana, mandarin, tomato, wheat grass to reduce potassium in blood, no salts for water retention and for those who have consistent high blood pressure and etc. Early awareness and altered lifestyle and diet are the keys. Not being aware poses the most dangerous threat to our health, and therefore our lives. We ourselves must take control and the initiative to read and understand more. Don’t just leave everything to doctors and medicines. This body is your body, not your doctor’s body. Doctors can’t live your lives for you. Medicines can’t help much either if you keep on poisoning your body with the wrong food. And what’s more, most medicines impair kidney and liver functions…

Let me quote the following saying: “When the treatments for chronic kidney failure are no longer effective, the only option is long-term dialysis or kidney transplantation. Despite the advent of dialysis, most people with advanced kidney failure die within 5 to 10 years. End-of-life care is important.” (The Merck Manual of Medical Information, 2nd Home Edition.)

Prevention is better than cure: the ultimate truth. Early awareness is the key. Be kind to your body with what you eat and do everyday. Not having to undergo dialysis for any patients is in anyway a blessing and great help to our nation, society, family and of course, the individual.

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