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Dialysis, What You Need to Know

On August 20th, 2019

Diabetes is running rampant throughout the world, but it’s prevalence in the United States of America is almost unchallenged.  If you’ve listened to health news at all in the past decade, you will have heard it described as an epidemic.  This is not without reason.  An epidemic is defined as: “a disease widely occurring in a community at a particular time.”  The current estimate of people in the US who have diabetes is 8% of the population!  More than that also have pre-diabetes.  If you do not have diabetes, chances are good that someone who is close to you does have it & you may have to help them navigate the difficult journey toward health.

Of course, the best option for anyone with pre-diabetes or diabetes is to do your absolute best to control blood sugars with diet.  This advice from doctors is often shoved aside or minimized as simplistic, yet the things that go into our bodies have a profound impact on the outcomes of our health.  Find a diet protocol and stick to it, especially if you have not followed a protocol closely before.  Only you know whether or not you have done the work on this end to see if it affects the outcome.  Keep a food journal for a month.  Be honest.  It is sometimes difficult to admit that we do not have control over a certain aspect of our lives, but it is imperative if you want to delay insulin or dialysis for as long as possible.  If you do a food journal and decide that you really have an addiction to sugar that you’re unable to control, look for help.

Often, sugar addictions can be greatly reduced with a strong, therapeutic probiotic.  Look for probiotics that have 30-60 million live organisms listed in their ingredients.  The cravings for sugar are often caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the body.  Sugar feeds the yeast (candida) and your body will cue sugar cravings in an attempt to satisfy the candida.  Try a probiotic of this strength for a couple of months and you may well find that your sugar cravings decrease, and your blood sugars improve. 

If you have done all that you know to control your blood sugars and your doctors have come to the conclusion that you need to consider dialysis to lengthen your life or improve the quality of life, there are several things to consider about the decision.  If your dialysis treatment is aggressive, you MAY be able to go off of dialysis.  There is not a cure for diabetes, but there is intensive self-care, including dietary interventions, exercise, weight loss, insulin, etc. that will help, over time, to reduce your dependence on dialysis.

If you are at the end of options without dialysis, it can prolong your life for 3-5 years in some cases.  It acts as an artificial kidney so that toxins can continue to be removed from your body.  This could give you the extra time you need in order to find a kidney donor and get a transplant that you need.

It can improve the quality of your life.  The bottom line is that you need to have toxins removed from your blood.  Your kidneys are the organs that do that.  If your kidneys are not operating well, you will need help to remove those toxins or you will feel the side effects of having all of those toxins building up.  You’ll stop desiring to eat, be nauseous or vomit, lack energy, and eventually it will lead to coma & death if left untreated. 

All of these benefits, however, need to be weighed against side effects of dialysis treatment & take into consideration the overall health and age of a patient.   Infection is one common side effect of dialysis.  If you are a person whose immune system is compromised, it is possible that the treatment might open the door for infection that would take your life before your kidney problems would.  You’d need to discuss the implications of each decision with your doctor and proceed cautiously.

Also, if you or your loved one that would receive treatment are extremely elderly, you may want to know that the treatments have several other side effects like headaches, dry, burning and itching skin, & difficulty sleeping.  Some people choose a better quality of life over length of life, especially if the treatment becomes unbearable.

The decision to go on or to continue with dialysis is a difficult one to make.  Each person is unique and has their own unique health history so there are no easy answers.  You’ll need time to think, to research and to have candid conversations with your health providers and family that may not be comfortable.  In the end, however, it is always a good thing to be faced with our own mortality so that we can decide which things we value most and make informed choices about how to spend these fleeting days that are left to us. 

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