Kidneys are incredibly important for our bodies.
Their function: they filter toxins out of your blood, allowing them to be excreted from the body to maintain health. But for various reasons, including diabetes and hypertension, kidneys sometimes fail to function. A hundred years ago, this would be fatal. But thanks to a young Dutch physician, Dr. Willem Kolff, life can continue despite kidney failure. Dr. Kolff constructed the first dialyzer in 1943, and dialysis has since been called “one of the foremost life-saving developments in the history of modern medicine” (DaVita).
Patients can undergo hemodialysis, in which the blood is taken out of the body and run through a machine. An alternative is peritoneal dialysis, where the dialysis fluid is placed within the peritoneal cavity and toxins are absorbed into the fluid which is then removed from the body. However, renal patients still have to follow a pretty strict diet, limiting sodium, phosphorous, potassium, and water.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about dialysis, take a moment to check out the presentation that I put together for one of my courses: