Kidney Disease: How Dialysis Can Improve the Quality of Life for Older Adults

Posted On Dec 21, 2022

4 Min Read

Dr. Jayanta Datta

Consultant - Nephrology

Manipal Hospital - Salt Lake

Kidney Dialysis in Kolkata

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is mostly linked to advancing years as the population ages. It frequently co-occurs with other illnesses. As a result, an increasing number of older people are dealing with chronic kidney disease in addition to their other chronic illnesses and the issues that come with being older in general. Therefore, while thinking about management and interventions, the quality of life must be a significant outcome.

Kidney failure is characterized by a particularly low level of kidney function. One treatment for kidney failure is to receive a kidney transplant. Despite a twofold increase in organ donation over the previous two decades, there are still over 92,000 patients on the national transplant list who are in need of a kidney. Dialysis is another option for treating many older adults with renal failure; but, for others, the thought of it might be terrifying. However, recent studies indicate that beginning dialysis can enhance an older person's quality of life.

Old Age and Dialysis 

Older people who develop kidney failure may need to receive dialysis therapy. Kidney replacement therapy, also known as dialysis, is the process of removing extra waste from the blood. An elderly person's kidney failure prognosis without kidney dialysis in Kolkata is impossible to predict and depends on a number of variables, such as other underlying conditions. Because of this, it's crucial to seek the advice of medical specialists and close family members before starting or, potentially, stopping dialysis.

Dialysis is a time-consuming process that requires numerous treatments per week (often three). It takes several hours to sit still and be connected to a dialysis machine for each session. Additionally, getting to and from the dialysis facility and home necessitates transportation. For some elderly people, the risks or time required for travel and treatment may outweigh the benefits in terms of quality of life.

All types of dialysis, like all medical procedures, have potential side effects that can be compared so that patients can choose where their personal risk/benefit ratio lies. However, the third option—going without dialysis—is nearly always associated with a lower life span. 

Quality of Life among Older People after Dialysis

Older people receiving dialysis differ from their younger counterparts in significant ways. For instance, older people receiving dialysis have a higher prevalence of geriatric syndromes such as frailty, functional impairment, and cognitive impairment and tend to have more chronic conditions than their younger counterparts. They also have a higher symptom burden, are less likely to be employed, have shorter life expectancies, and are more likely to have these conditions. These variations have no effect on the psychometric qualities of older people. To know more, consult with the best nephrologist in Kolkata.

How Dialysis can Improve the Quality of Life for Older Adults?

The elderly's life expectancy on kidney dialysis is influenced by their underlying health issues and how well they adhere to their treatment schedule. Although many people use dialysis for 20 or 30 years, the typical life expectancy is only 5 to 10 years.

In the year preceding dialysis, older people with advanced chronic kidney disease experienced a decline in their mental and physical well-being. However, after dialysis began, the decline in their condition stabilizes. Many older people with kidney failure are concerned that kidney dialysis may reduce their quality of life even though it may lengthen their physical lives. Dialysis may not only prolong life for older people but also enhance their physical and mental health.

When thinking about management and interventions, the quality of life must be a major consideration. It is recommended to adhere to the referral guidelines for renal clinics to prevent pointless outpatient appointments and tests. Dialysis should be discussed with patients and their families in an open and honest manner, taking into account its influence on lifestyle. 

There might not be a difference in survival rates between dialysis users and those receiving conservative therapy for frail patients. Instead of standard hospital hemodialysis, home therapy is now a possibility thanks to the development of assisted peritoneal dialysis. Measures of the standard and efficacy of care for elderly patients with chronic kidney disease should move away from strictly medical goals and incorporate patient outcomes.

Dr. Jayanta Datta

Consultant - Nephrology

Manipal Hospitals, Salt Lake, Kolkata

Call Us