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Busting Eight Vital Myths About Dialysis
Oct 2016
Dr Ravi Andrews
Senior Consultant Nephrologist, Apollo Health City

The Meaning Of Dialysis
A twenty-year-old who is on dialysis has a hundred times more chance of dying as compared to a healthy eighty year old! On dialysis, 10 per cent of the patients die within one year, 50 per cent within five years and 90 per cent within ten years. These statistics basically underline the dangers of kidney disease and the inadequacy of dialysis to substitute kidney function.

And, contrary to common perception, the high death rate is not because of dialysis per se, but due to the negative impact of kidney failure on other organs. In fact, most deaths in patients dependent on dialysis are due to cardiac causes, lung diseases, brain strokes and infections. Unfortunately, the process of dialysis gets a bad name by association. Patients on dialysis die due to some other causes but people believe they died due to dialysis.

The term ‘dialysis’ doesn’t make things any better - If you break the word dialysis, you get ‘dia’ and ‘lysis,’ where ‘dia’ sounds like ‘die’ and ‘lysis’ is the medical term for death. So, the term dialysis, is like death twice over! Nevertheless, this is a total misconception. The word ‘dialysis’ is actually Greek for ‘separate’ or ‘set-free.’ Hence, dialysis can be a life-saving procedure and here we bust some myths associated with this process.

Why Dialysis Is Necessary
The kidneys are vital organs of the body and the tasks they perform is crucial for survival. Approximately 1500 liters of blood are filtered and purifi ed each day by the kidneys. And in case, the kidneys don’t function appropriately, there will be a huge buildup of waste in the blood and without dialysis, this waste can rise to an extent that could eventually lead to death.