Story of a Dialysis patient: Help Saving Lives by Donating blood

“Words are never enough to thank the blood banks, volunteers, and most importantly, the blood donors who are the saviors for people like us.”

- Roshan, A Dialysis Patient’s Grandson

Dialysis is lifesaving for millions of people worldwide. Unfortu­nately, it’s not a com­plete or lasting solu­tion; kidney patients on dialysis suffer numer­ous complications and, on average, survive just three to five years and suffer many complications throughout their treatment.

Roshan Shrestha of Gwarko, Kathmandu, needs to find blood every two weeks in order to help his grandmother, Mrs. Rajkumri Shrestha, who is 78 years old. For the last three months, she has been diagnosed with chronic kidney problems. Mr. Rosan Shrestha said, "Although she is a dialysis patient, she had no complications during the procedure."

It is, however, very difficult for Roshan and his family because of many obstacles they must overcome. "My grandmother has a routine blood transfusion every two weeks, and managing the blood for her is tough. We must contact numerous phone numbers before we can know where we may locate our only chance for Grandma's survival. Words are never enough to thank the blood banks, volunteers, and most importantly, the donors who are the saviors for people like us.", said Roshan. 

Failure to receive a timely blood transfusion can be fatal for patients like Rajkumari Shrestha, resulting in fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands or feet, chest pain, and a loss of concentration, all of which are the symptoms of anemia. Six out of ten persons with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or chronic kidney disease suffer from anemia (CKD). The body may even run out of oxygen if the anemia does not improve. 

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis is a medical procedure that uses a machine to filter and purify blood. When your kidneys aren't working correctly, dialysis keeps your fluids and electrolytes balanced. It helps to control your blood pressure by removing wastes, excess salt, and water from your body and performs the function of your kidneys.

Why is dialysis needed?

Dialysis is needed if your kidney disease fails to perform its functions properly. According to the National Kidney Foundation,- “end-stage kidney failure occurs when the kidneys perform at only 10 to 15 percent of their normal function.”

When you experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue are the common signs of kidney failure. If your tests reveal toxic quantities of waste in your blood, you should consider starting dialysis.

Types of Dialysis 

There are two types of dialysis :

  • Hemodialysis 

Hemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis that involves using a dialysis machine and a special filter known as an artificial kidney or dialyzer to remove the fluid and the blood from the body. After the artificial kidney filters the blood, the filtered blood is returned to the body using the machines. It is usually accomplished with minor surgery on the arm.

Hemodialysis treatments are normally three times a week and last three to five hours. Hemodialysis treatment, on the other hand, can be conducted in shorter, more frequent sessions.

  • Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a procedure where the interior lining of your belly acts as a natural filter. Wastes are removed by the use of dialysate, a cleansing fluid that is washed in and out of your stomach in cycles.

This procedure takes a few hours to complete and must be done four to six times per day.
Fluid exchange, on the other hand, can be done while you're sleeping or awake.

How can you help Dialysis patients?

A blood transfusion is used to treat anemia or a low red blood cell count. Anemia is commonly caused by kidney failure. One may need a transfusion if the blood count is very low despite receiving iron supplementation. This is administered during a dialysis treatment. As some individuals are ineligible for iron and hormone injections, a blood transfusion may be the sole option for improving anemia.

Donating blood and blood products saves millions of lives every year. Various patients suffering from life-threatening disorders have benefited from blood donation, allowing them to live a longer and better quality of life. Patients with anemia, thalassemia, cancer, and hemophilia require a large amount of blood regularly.

Blood has become increasingly important and necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some blood types are rare in nature; every pint of blood we donate has the potential to save three lives. So, let's all get together and donate blood to save the lives of more people like Rajkumari Shrestha and many others like her.

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