By Sue Carrington |
Kidneys serve multiple functions including waste removal, fluid balance, regulation of salts and minerals, and controlling blood pressure + red blood cell production. Kidney failure can lead to life-threatening complications such as chronic kidney disease or dehydration that IV treatments play a role in managing.
Our kidneys are multi-taskers. They remove waste from the body, balance fluids, regulate essential salts and minerals, and control blood pressure and red blood cell production.
When they’re not functioning as they’re meant to, waste products and water build up in the body, potentially leading to a range of health conditions and life-threatening complications. If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—the gradual loss of kidney function over time—intravenous (IV) therapy treatments may help you better manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Kidney disease brings the risk of dehydration, where the body loses more fluid than it takes in. Extreme dehydration causes a sharp drop in kidney functions in a short amount of time. IV treatments can give your body the fluids and nutrients you need to increase blood flow to the kidneys and help them continue to filter waste.
When the kidneys aren’t functioning as they should, patients may also be in danger of fluid overload. The sodium (salt) in the body becomes diluted, the body’s water levels rise, and cells begin to swell. An IV sodium solution can increase the amount of salt in your blood and restore your body’s water-salt balance.
A common complication of kidney disease is anemia, a condition that develops when red blood cells are in short supply. For anemic patients, a doctor may prescribe IV iron treatments to help the body make red blood cells as quickly as possible.
Another side effect of declining kidneys is gout—a painful condition caused by a buildup of waste products in the blood that affects your joints and tissues. Instead of prescribing oral steroids to treat gout, some doctors may recommend IV therapies for faster relief.
When the kidneys can no longer take care of the body’s needs, patients may need to receive dialysis—a treatment that filters and purifies your blood either through a machine or from within the body.
In the first method of dialysis, blood will be siphoned into a machine that mimics the body’s kidneys, filtering waste products and returning clean blood back into the body. In the second method, a doctor will place a soft tube into a patient’s stomach. When the treatment starts, the patient will receive a dialysis solution from a bag through the tube and into the stomach. There, the solution will soak up waste and extra fluid and empty it back through the tube.
Improving transplant readiness and reception
A second option for failed kidneys is a kidney transplant, which places a healthy kidney inside your body to do the work your own kidneys can no longer do. IV infusions can be an integral part of treatment before, during and after a kidney transplant. IV medications before surgery can help prevent infection, and after surgery, fight the risk of transplant rejection.