Dialysis is a common treatment for kidney disease, but it comes with several risks and side effects, warns Healthline. Its associated risks include bleeding at the access site, low blood pressure, infection, nausea and air bubbles in the blood. The stress of regular dialysis can also be damaging to a patient's mental and emotional health, according to WebMD.
A common long-term risk of dialysis is dialysis dementia, which manifests as seizures along with physical and speech problems, warns Healthline. Dialysis-related amyloidosis, when proteins in the blood are deposited along the bones, may occur in patients who have undergone dialysis for five or more years, according to WebMD.
Another treatment for end-stage kidney disease is an organ transplant, reports WebMD. A kidney transplant may be recommended to avoid dialysis for the remainder of a patient's life or to improve the quality of life. Anti-rejection drugs and improved follow-up procedures have greatly eliminated the risks associated with organ transplants, but the medications themselves may cause unwanted side effects, warns Mayo Clinic. These side effects include bone thinning and damage, diabetes, and an increased risk of cancer.
Treatment for early or less severe kidney disease consists chiefly of modifications made to diet along with medications, according to WebMD.