Myths About Dialysis: Setting the Record Straight
Every day, millions of people undergo dialysis. This lifesaving treatment uses a specialized machine to filter toxins from the blood – work normally done by healthy kidneys. Although the need for dialysis is undisputed, common misconceptions persist about the burden of being on dialysis, and we’re here to set the record straight.
Myth: The only option for receiving dialysis treatment is to travel to a center at least three times per week for hours at a time.
Fact: There are so many dialysis options. If a patient is hospitalized, they can receive it during hospitalization. Peritoneal dialysis can be done in a unit or the comfort of your home. Patients should talk with their doctors about which type of dialysis they need and their treatment location options.
Myth: Dialysis is painful.
Fact: The dialysis treatment itself is painless. You may feel some discomfort when the needle is put into your fistula or graft, but most patients have no other pain during the process. Some patients may experience side effects, like a drop in blood pressure that can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches or cramps. However, the risk of these types of side effects can be reduced by following kidney-conscious dietary recommendations.
Myth: Dialysis is expensive or unaffordable for the normal patient.
Fact: Many of the costs associated with dialysis are covered by either the federal government, health insurance or state medical aid. The federal government pays 80 percent of all dialysis costs for most patients, which helps keep out-of-pocket costs low.
Myth: Due to time constraints, dialysis patients can't travel.
Fact: There are dialysis centers located in every part of the United States and in many foreign countries that can assist patients who wish to travel. The treatment is standardized, so it can be received anywhere. If you want to travel, talk to your dialysis team about safe travel tips and help with arranging out-of-town treatments.