About the Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
When you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) your kidneys are damaged and don’t work as well as they should. This means that your body can’t get rid of waste products (like phosphate) very easily. As your kidneys become more damaged, phosphate can start building up in your body. Therefore, it is important that your doctor keeps a close eye on your condition.
Types of dialysis
There are two types of dialysis: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Both accomplish the same tasks but in different ways.
With haemodialysis or HD, your blood is filtered by an artificial kidney. The blood from your body is passed through a dialysis machine, and the dialysis fluid ensures that waste products and excess fluids are removed. Then the clean blood is returned to your body.
With peritoneal dialysis or PD, your own peritoneum (part of your abdomen) is used as a filter instead of using a dialysis machine. Dialysis fluid is passed into your abdominal cavity through a catheter (tube). Then while it is in your abdomen, it takes up waste products and excess fluids. These wastes and fluids leave your body when the dialysis fluid is drained.
Dialysis is essential to keep your body healthy. When used in combination with diet and medication, you will be able to control many of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease.
Phosphate is an important mineral that is essential for a healthy body. It is found in high-protein foods like meat, dairy products (cheese, butter, milk, yoghurt and ice cream), nuts, Coca-cola and Pepsi, and some fish. Normal amounts of phosphate work with calcium to keep your bones and teeth healthy. Healthy kidneys filter out the phosphate you don’t need. However, when your kidneys don’t work properly they cannot get rid of the extra phosphate. As a result, phosphate can build up in your body and cause a problem known as hyperphosphataemia (very high levels of phosphate in your blood). Hyperphosphataemia can cause serious health-related problems and even death.
Although dialysis may help remove a lot of the extra phosphate from your blood, it can’t remove it all. That’s why you need to stick to a low phosphate diet and take medications called phosphate binders.
High levels of phosphate in your blood can cause calcium to leak out of your bones. Then the extra phosphate and calcium can join together to form hard, bone-like deposits in your body called calcification. These deposits can block the flow of blood in your heart, lungs and blood vessels, making them rigid and hard. Calcification of the heart will eventually lead to cardiovascular disease and increase the risk of having a heart attack.
If calcium is deposited in the vessels that supply blood to the skin, it can block the blood flow and cause skin damage. Calcification may also form in your joints where it can create hard, painful lumps.