Teaching Handout

Gyton Williams

The function of the kidneys is to cleanse the blood. It provides the function of removing waste products, excessive fluid, and maintains a chemical balance by filtering the blood. They also produce a hormone to help make red blood cells. There are 2 kidneys located in the body, each are the size of a fist. When kidneys fail, the body begins to build up with waste products and excess fluid. The buildup of waste products can lead to a downward spiral in heath. Loss of appetite, feelings of being tired or worn-out, excess fluid build-up in body tissues, and elevated blood pressure occur with kidney failure. The treatment for kidney failure is dialysis. Untreated kidney failure can lead to congestive heart failure, fluid over load, massive Stroke and even death.

  • The treatment of kidney failure is peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis, or kidney transplantation. Dialysis is the term used for removing waste products and extra fluid from your blood that your kidneys can no longer remove themselves.
  • Dialysis gets rid of extra fluid and waste products that the kidneys are not removing.
  • Along with dialysis, there are lifestyle changes that must be followed. These changes include compliance with dialysis treatment schedule, fluid restrictions, dietary, and medication management.

For dialysis treatment, there will be a schedule provided for you to receive treatment three to four days a week. If you are experiencing any problems with transportation, please inform your designated facility. They will assist you with transportation issues. Treatment is scheduled 3 or 4 times a week in order to remove the toxins from your body. The length of time will be given by the physician. With hemodialysis, the hours of treatment range from 2 ½ -4 hours, for peritoneal dialysis the hours of treatment range from 4-8 hours.

  • Dietary management for dialysis treatment is called a renal diet with fluid restrictions. The renal diet consists of eating food that is high in protein, low in phosphorus, and low in sodium, controlled potassium and calcium.
  • Fluid is restricted to 32 oz per day to prevent fluid overload.
  • The best source of protein is from meats such as beef, fish, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Protein is important for healthy muscles, bones, hair, and skin. Phosphorus should be avoided because the body can’t filter it off. Medications should be taken as prescribed by your doctor.


Blood Pressure is the force of blood against artery walls. Arteries are one type of blood vessels located in the body that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When blood pressure stays up over a long period of time, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. Blood pressure is made of 2 numbers. The top number is the force of blood when the heart beats. It is seen as the Systolic. The bottom number is the force of blood when the heart relaxes. It is seen as Diastolic. The blood pressure is made up of both these numbers.

Know Your Numbers:

If your pressure is:


Less than 120/80

Your pressure is normal.

Between 120/80

And 139/89

You’re at risk for high blood pressure. Talk to your health care provider to set goals.

140/90 or above

Your blood pressure is high/

There are dangers to high blood pressure. When it stays u over long periods of time, it makes the heart work harder and harder to pump blood through the body. It can lead to having a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and other health problems. High blood pressure is a “Silent Killer” and should always be taken seriously. There is treatment for high blood pressure. The treatment depends on how high your blood pressure is and possible other health problems. High blood pressure can be treated by making lifestyle changes. These changes include taking antihypertensive medications, eating well (Low-Salt Diet), Lose weight, exercise, and stop smoking. High blood pressure can also be a hereditary.

There are many forms of hypertensive medications. Some act to reduce fluid and sodium in the body, while other act on the blood flow through the vessels, and block receptors from the heart. These medications should be taken as prescribed by the physicians. Be sure to notify your doctor if you have any reactions that may be uncomfortable for you.

Make healthy choices to control your blood pressure.

  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, cut salt from your diet, bake and broil meats instead of frying them. Fried foods are high in fat and cholesterol. Canned and processed foods are high in sodium and should be avoided to lower your blood Pressure.
  • Avoid beverages and fruit juices that are high in sodium and carbohydrates. Drink at least 32oz of water daily (for renal failure and hypertension).
  • Be active to control high blood pressure. Start exercising 30-45 min for 3 times a week. It can boost your energy, help you to feel more energetic, and help with weight loss. Exercises can include brisk walking, swimming, hiking, riding a bike, or climbing stairs. Aerobic activities are low weight bearing, but can make the heart stronger and work better.
  • Smoking can make high blood pressure worse. Smoking causes changes in the veins and arteries. These changes include tightening of these vessels that makes it harder for blood to flow through the tissues. It can also lead to other conditions such as respiratory problems, cancer, and peripheral vascular diseases. If you smoke, then think about your reasons to quit.

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