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I’m Starting Dialysis: What Can I Expect?

When people are told that they are going to start their dialysis journey, they may be faced with a mixture of emotions and various questions. Whether facing the hassles of chronic kidney disease or the problem of acute kidney failure, adaptation in life can start with an awareness of what dialysis is. At Kidney Clinic of North Florida, we are committed to championing specialized renal care under the experienced leadership of Dr. Gaurav Tandon and Dr. Vishesh Puri. Continue reading to learn more about dialysis, understand what to expect during your dialysis journey, and gain insights on how we can support you through this process.

Understanding Dialysis

Dialysis is a stiff and strict procedure that, first and foremost, saves a life by taking over what your kidneys should generally do: filter waste, salt, and excess fluid from the blood. In other words, dialysis can fill in for non-properly performing kidney functions and assist in keeping the pressure of the blood well controlled.

Types of Dialysis

There are two primary forms of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.


In this process, the patient’s blood is filtered, no longer in the body but outside it, through a machine called a hemodialyzer. Carrier access is formed on the arm or leg, and blood can flow to the dialyzer – to and from the body, post-filtration. Most often, weekly hemodialysis sessions are carried out thrice and last roughly four hours.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis filters the blood from within the body. A catheter containing the dialysate solution is inserted into the abdomen. Blood is cleaned by its movement in and out of the abdominal cavity several times before returning to the central circulation. CAPD is further divided into Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD), in which CPD is done manually, and APD is done with the help of the machine.

What to Expect

Duration and Frequency

The other thing that modality determines is how often and how long dialysis will be. Typically, hemodialysis needs a visit to the clinic three times a week. For peritoneal dialysis it connects to the cycler at night or during the day if you are on CAPD or APD.

Dialysis Setting

Dialysis can be performed either in a hospital, independent dialysis clinic, specialized treatment center, or at home according to the patient’s status and selection. Our Kidney Clinic of North Florida staff is here to help you decide what will best fit your life and needs.

Comfort and Symptoms

Although dialysis is not a painful procedure, some patients may complain of muscle cramps or nausea. Do not worry. Our determined team – including Dr. Tandon and Dr. Puri – will assure your comfort during the process.

Your Care Team at Kidney Clinic of North Florida

Dr. Gaurav Tandon and Dr. Vishesh Puri offer their invaluable expertise, down-to-earth approach, and full-minded attention to the concerns of each patient in terms of kidney care in Jacksonville, FL. At Kidney Clinic of North Florida, we assure you that you will feel guided and taken care of every step of the way since your first dialysis treatment. We have a claim-to-communicate policy where every question, dialysis concern, or related issue with the kidney will be discussed.

Contact Us

For more information, feel free to contact us at the Kidney Clinic of North Florida, by filling out our online contact form. Your health and comfort are our top priorities, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

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Are Dialysis Treatments Painful?

When a patient’s kidneys weaken or fail, dialysis is a lifeline. Kidneys are the body’s filtering system, clearing the blood of waste, toxins, and built-up fluids. There are two basic methods to do this artificially. Are these procedures painful? The short answer is no, but discomfort and some minor pain points exist.

Causes for Dialysis

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the slow loss of kidney function. Early diagnosis can add years of living without dialysis. Diabetes and high blood pressure weaken the kidneys. Other conditions that contribute to loss of function include autoimmune diseases, genetic diseases, and acute kidney injuries.

The Process of Kidney Dialysis


The process of filtering the blood outside of the body is hemodialysis. Blood is drawn from the forearm and then sent to a mechanical device and filter. After filtering, the clean blood returns via a second tube. The filtering removes excess fluid and waste.

Peritoneal Dialysis

The patient’s lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) serves as a natural filter. With a catheter, dialysis solution is gently pumped into the abdomen. Waste and excess fluid move through the peritoneum walls. Then, the dialysis solution drains as part of the treatment.

Sensations and Discomfort

New patients often worry that dialysis will be painful, but the reality is that pain rarely occurs. With the hours of filtering, most patients do not report pain. Technicians can minimize pain points with well-known precautions.

Vascular Access

A surgically installed fistula, a graft, or a catheter allows access for dialysis. Placing one of these devices is a minor pain point, but with proper maintenance, they can stay in place between many treatments.


It is critical to maintain high standards of hygiene. Patients need to keep the access site dry and clean. Grafts tend to clot more. With fistulas and grafts, blood continues to flow correctly. Capping catheters between treatments allows for the reuse of the site. In all cases, following doctor’s orders is critical to avoid complications.

Hemodialysis Discomfort:

Patients will experience slight vibrations when blood flows during the procedure, which indicates good access. Many feel cold due to the cool air at treatment centers. Also, the blood mildly cools when circulating outside the body. Then, there will be a sensation of bloating.

Peritoneal Dialysis Discomfort:

Patients often experience a sensation of fullness due to the dialysis solution filling the abdomen. During the filling and draining, if the catheter pushes against the abdominal wall, some discomfort can result. There are several medical protocols to avoid distress.

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis is a lifesaving procedure. The majority of patients have a positive feeling that they are doing the best for themselves and their families. The pain is minimal, and you can live many more years.

Schedule Your Consultation

The Kidney Clinic of North Florida has experienced, friendly staff to make patients feel welcome and comfortable. Drs Gaurav Tandon, MD, and Vishesh Puri, MD, are specialists who have the experience and skills to ensure procedures align with the latest medically proven technology. Call today or complete the online contact form. They are anxious to serve your needs.

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The Importance of Dialysis

The National Institutes of Health report that 37 million American adults have chronic kidney disease. An estimated 90 percent of those are unaware of their condition. Kidney disease shows little to no symptoms in its earlier stages, and those who do show symptoms have end-stage kidney disease. The estimate of those with end-stage kidney disease runs at 808,000. At this stage, kidney transplants or repeat dialysis from a certified expert are crucial to the patient’s well-being and life.

The Importance of Kidneys

Think of the water you drink. Without filters, dirt, bacteria, and other matter can make your water murky and unsafe.

Kidneys function as the filters for your body. With nephrons, healthy kidneys remove waste, acids, and extra fluids from your blood. The excess water becomes urine that exists in your body and carries the waste with it. The cleansed blood brings oxygen and other nutrients to organs and cells.

At the point of end-stage kidney disease, your kidneys totally fail. In the wake of kidney failure may come heart disease, high blood pressure, severe itching of the skin, weakness from anemia (low oxygen in blood cells), gout, and neurological impairments such as confusion and seizures. Kidney disease typically proves irreversible.

Dialysis Does What Diseased Kidneys Can’t

Dialysis assumes the functions robbed by kidney failure. It performs the filtering and cleaning in the place of your kidneys. Nearly seven out of every 10 patients with end-stage kidney disease turn to this treatment. Dialysis can also help those with acute or temporary kidney failure.

With dialysis, you can extend your life expectancy even after a diagnosis of end-stage kidney disease. Those on dialysis can expect on average to live five to 10 years after starting. Some survive beyond 20 years.

External Filtering

Hemodialysis relies on a tube that transports blood from your body to a machine. A needle in your arm connects the tube to an outside machine that filters your blood. The cleansed blood then flows through another tube back into your arm and throughout your body.

In a facility such as the Kidney Clinic of North Florida, hemodialysis patients usually have three treatments per week. The number and length of sessions can differ depending on the individual case. Without treatment, you can expect your body to continue to develop unwelcome symptoms that inhibit your daily life. However, patients who undergo this dialysis treatment will find themselves able to enjoy their lives more fully.

Interior Cleaning

Peritoneal dialysis cleans from the inside. The lining in your abdomen, known as the peritoneum, filters the blood with the help of a cleaning solution. This fluid contains water along with salt and other medicinal substances. The fluid enters down a tube and through a surgically inserted catheter into your abdomen. After filtering waste out of your system, the fluids and waste flow into an empty bag.

This internal dialysis method allows you to conduct daily activities during the treatment generally. However, you’ll need to change bags roughly four times daily, though peritoneal dialysis can be performed at home luckily.

This form of dialysis is a more permanent solution, offering continuous treatment to regularly rid your body of waste. Machines can help automate this process while you sleep and maintaining regular cleaning can help patients in end-stages live longer.

Experts Can Help You

Kidney disease is a serious condition that can be fatal if ignored and left untreated. Seeking solutions can not only improve your energy levels and daily functions but can save your life. Dialysis is not a cure but will slow down the process significantly while a patient waits for a transplant. It is imperative that you do your research, and find a doctor who is both certified and experienced.

Dr. Gaurav Tandon, MD stands ready to bring his knowledge and experience in treating your kidney disease. Contact The Kidney Clinic of North Florida to schedule your consultation about whether you need dialysis and what method would best serve you.