FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Your kidneys play the important role of removing waste products and excess fluid from your body. So what happens if they stop working?
We spoke with one Valley woman who’s been battling kidney failure for six years to learn more.
Joyce Meyer has diabetes and suffers from high blood pressure, or hypertension–the two leading causes of kidney failure. The combination caused Joyce’s kidneys to shut down and she had no choice but to be put on dialysis–a treatment that substitutes the natural work of the kidneys.
“I was scared at first, because my numbers were really low and I thought, ‘Okay I’ve got to work and be on dialysis,’ but, I just tell everyone ‘I’m doing Okay!’ I’m hanging in there,” said Meyer.
Most people going through dialysis have lost 85 to 90 percent of their kidney function. Experts say if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, like Joyce, working with your doctor to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control is the best way to prevent kidney disease.
Dr. Hemant Dhingra who’s a Nephrologist, said, “If you’re diabetic, make sure you control your diabetes good enough. Make sure you see your doctor in time and take your medication as told and keep your numbers intact. If you have high blood pressure make sure you take your blood pressure medications and keep the blood pressure in control and sometimes you have these sudden diseases that you’re born with it so you don’t have control, but those things can also be managed with the latest advancement with science.”
There are two different types of dialysis–hemodialysis, which basically acts as an artificial kidney and peritoneal dialysis, which is a treatment that cleans the blood inside the body. Joyce has experienced both.
“I try to be uplifting when I go in there, to help other people be happy, because you know it’s a happy thing. We’re getting help until our kidney comes,” said Meyer.
Dr. Dhingra says dialysis treatment itself is painless and many patients are able to live their normal lives while going through it. the length of time someone is on dialysis varies depending on the case, but the average is 5 to 10 years.
“I’ve got a son, 17 years old– so I just stay strong for him too. And some day I’ll end up with a donor, it’ll come in time. In the meantime, this is how you live, you just adjust to living with dialysis. It’s all good,” Meyer said.