Like every other integral organ in our body, the kidney is one of the most important organs. But when the kidney fails, dialysis is usually recommended. The cost of getting dialysis in Canada is quite expensive, especially without insurance or government support.
Dialysis – An Overview
Every organ in our body has a particular role to perform and when they are unable to carry out their roles effectively, the body begins to experience some health complications. The kidney is one of these organs, they are a pair of organs situated at the bottom of the rib cage. Each kidney can be found at each side of the spine. Kidneys are very important to the overall health condition of the body.
The function of the kidneys in the body is to filter out waste products, excess water, and other dirt out of the blood. Being that the Kidney comes in a pair if one fails or stops functioning, the body can continue to live with the second one without having any health problems.
When the kidneys fail, dialysis helps to keep the body in balance. Dialysis is currently one of the most common and effective forms of kidney disease treatment. It is an artificial method of cleaning the blood off filths. It is usually recommended for patients whose kidneys have failed or are close to failing. Until a Kidney donor is found, most people with late-stage kidney disease are placed on permanent dialysis.
Causes of Kidney Disease
There are different kind of health conditions that could lead to kidney failure, some of which include:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney Stone
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Chronic Kidney Disease/ Chronic Renal Failure
- Polycystic Kidney disease
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
- Fluid retention
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Dry, scaly skin
- Frequent Urination
- Loss of appetite
- Poor concentration
- Muscle cramping
Dialysis in Canada
In Canada, you can have independent dialysis (home-based) or dependent dialysis (clinic or hospital-based). With the independent dialysis, you can get more hours of dialysis than what you will get at the hospital or clinic since it takes place at home.
An Independent dialysis is a great option for people who want to continue work, go to school or even travel. It is also a more convenient choice if you live far away from the nearest clinic or hospital. You have fewer dietary restrictions with this option than dependent dialysis.
The dependent dialysis is a great choice for people who cannot manage the treatment themselves due to physical or mental conditions. If you do not have the support needed for the treatment or if you lack a house that cannot allow home therapy, dependent dialysis is the best option for you.
In Canada, the only type of dependent dialysis available is hemodialysis. However, you will have to travel to the hospital or clinic thrice a week. The treatment takes four to five hours. You will also have a daily fluid limit and dietary restrictions.
Cost of Dialysis in Canada
Dialysis can be quite expensive, however, in developed countries, the government takes care of a considerable percentage of the total cost of dialysis. Private health insurance also covers the cost of dialysis.
The cost of dialysis in Canada is generally taken care of by the government but some costs usually referred to as out-of-pocket costs are solely the responsibility of the patients. Some of these costs include; transportation, medications and utilities (for independent dialysis).
The coverage of dialysis costs also varies according to the province in Canada the facility is located. In Alberta, only direct dialysis cost is taken care of by the government.
In British Columbia, all other costs except transportation costs to and from the centre are taken care of. The same applies to Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
In Saskatchewan, access transit, medical taxi and other fees are reimbursed by social assistance as applicable. Note that this is only applicable to Canadian citizens.
However, if you are yet to get your Canadian passport or you are not a citizen, the average cost of Dialysis in Canada is between CA$575 – CA$675 depending on how much time your treatment takes.
Independent dialysis is less expensive as you do not need to cover transportation costs. Bear in mind that getting a dialysis machine for home therapy can be quite expensive if you don’t have health insurance or if your health fees are not covered by the government. It cost about CA$30,000 to procure a dialysis machine in Canada.
Types of Dialysis in Canada
Dialysis is available in Canada and the two major types provided are:
This involves the use of a machine and a filter to extract waste products and water from the blood.
- Peritoneal Dialysis
This method uses a fluid known as dialysate that is placed in the patient’s abdominal cavity to extract waste product and fluid from the body.
Dialysis is carried out in a hospital, usually in a specialized dialysis unit that is not part of a hospital or at home. Your choice of place is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition and wishes.
Life expectancy on dialysis can vary depending on any other medical conditions you may have and the consistency of your treatment plan. On average, the life expectancy on dialysis is 5-10 years, however, a lot of patients have lived well on dialysis for 20 or even up to 30 years.
Side Effects of Dialysis
Some of the common side effects of Dialysis include:
- Weight gain
- Stomach pain
- High blood sugar
- Abdominal muscle weakening
- Irregular heartbeat
When on dialysis, you will be placed on a special diet and you may need to limit your fluid intake. Your diet recommendation varies according to the type of dialysis you will be going for.
Besides this and having to get your treatments three times a week, you can live a normal life on dialysis. Remember that dialysis is not a cure but a treatment and if it does not help your kidneys get better, you might need a new kidney via transplant.