About Kingsport Kidney Care
Kingsport Kidney Care is a joint venture between Holston Medical Group and DCI, the largest non-profit dialysis provider in the United States treating patients with chronic kidney disease since 1971. Together, the Kingsport Kidney Center provides life-saving therapies with a patient-centered approach.
Led by Sharan Kanakiriya, MD, HMG Nephrologist, the Kingsport Kidney Center’s sole reason for existence is to meet the needs of individual patients who are living with chronic kidney disease. We see every patient as a unique individual with unique needs and we believe in partnering with each patient to address their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs.
We know that dialysis treatment can be a difficult adjustment for the patient and their family members and loved ones. That’s why we offer educational opportunities to help you fully understand the treatment and offer you resources to assist you in your journey.
Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease
- How do kidneys work?
Kidneys are a critical organ that do much more than just produce urine. They actually perform many functions including keeping your blood clean, free of toxins, and perfectly balanced, processing about 200 quarts of blood to filter out 2 Liters of urine. Thekidneys also regulate the body water and other chemicals in the blood such as sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. They release hormones that assist in controlling your blood pressure, keeping your bones healthy and stimulate the bone marrow to make red blood cells.
When your kidneys are not functioning correctly, it’s difficult to live a normal, healthy life.
Unfortunately, there are minimal signs of kidney disease and it can happen slowly over
time. It can take months or years before your kidney function declines to the point of
needing dialysis or a transplant.
- What is kidney disease and how does it progress?
There are five stages of kidney disease. During the early stages of kidney disease, you usually do not feel sick at all. As your disease progresses, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Frequent thirst
- Urinating more or less often
- Passing very small amounts of urine
- Swelling in the hands, feet and face
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth and urine-like odor to the breath
- Feeling tired
- Trouble breathing or short of breath
- Loss of appetite
- High blood pressure
- Pale skin
- Dry, itchy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drowsiness or confusion
- Darker color to skin
- Muscle cramps
- Trouble Sleeping
- Inability to concentrate
During the early stages, your nephrologist will monitor how your kidneys function. The goal is
to keep your kidneys working as long as possible and he/she may prescribe certain
medications or lifestyle changes to help your body adjust to the slowing down of your kidney
If you have other health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, your risk of more rapidly progressing kidney diseases is higher. If uncontrolled, both diabetes and hypertension put extra strain on the kidneys and therefore impact the kidneys ability to function at their best.
As kidney disease progresses, health problems will develop and worsen as renal function declines. If your renal function drops below 15 percent, some form of kidney replacement therapy will be required – either dialysis or transplantation.
About Dialysis Treatment
- What is dialysis treatment?
When your kidneys fail, dialysis keeps your body in balance by filtering toxins, waste and fluid from your blood, doing the job that your kidneys can no longer do on their own. Keeping a safe level of potassium, sodium and bicarbonate in your system is key to heling control blood sugar and blood pressure. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
Hemodialysis is when an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) is used to remove waste and extra
chemicals and water from your blood. You will have a procedure to install a port that will allow the doctor access to your blood vessels in your arm or leg. Hemodialysis treatment time depends on how well your kidneys work, how much fluid weight you gain between treatments, how much waster you have in your body, your body size, and the type of artificial kidney used. Each treatment typically lasts around 4 hours and is done three times per week. This type of dialysis can be done both in-center or at home. At home dialysis allows some to better fit treatments into their schedule, making it more convenient.
Peritoneal dialysis is when your blood is cleaned inside your body. Your doctor will place a catheter in your abdomen to make an access port which is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. Extra fluid and waster products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate.
- When is dialysis needed?
When you develop end stage kidney failure (a loss of about 85-90 percent of your kidney function and have a GFR of <15), you will need dialysis treatment.
- Does dialysis treatment cure kidney disease?
No. Once placed on dialysis, the treatment will be required for the remainder of your life unless you are able to receive a kidney transplant. Life expectancy on dialysis can vary depending on your other medical conditions and how well you follow your treatment plan. If you follow the treatment plan, you can live a normal life except for the time required for treatments.
- Is dialysis treatment uncomfortable?
The dialysis treatment itself is painless. However, some patients may experience a drop in blood pressure which can make you feel sick to your stomach, vomit or have a headache or cramps which typically go away with frequent treatments.
- Will I need to make any lifestyle changes?
Yes. Your doctor will likely put you on a special diet, limiting your intake of water, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Your diet may vary depending on your treatment, so it’s important to talk to your doctor and follow the treatment plan he/she provides for you.
For more information or to talk with a healthcare provider about your kidney health, call HMG Nephrology at 423-343-7801.