We all hear about the big killers like cancer and heart disease, but what about kidney disease?
It's actually the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and many times leaves patients on dialysis. But what exactly is dialysis?
Every three months or so, your car gets it's oil changed. Now imagine if you had to do that every other day? Only it's your body, not your car.
A daunting thought right?
Well, this hypothetical question is quite the reality for kidney dialysis patients.
"Dialysis can be thought of as artificial kidney treatment it's when your kidneys don't work and if you can't get a transplant or if you're waiting for a transplant, center dialysis takes the place of your kidneys." Said Dr. Bob Santella, a nephrologist with the Avera Medical Group Nephrology.
When functioning properly your kidneys filter toxins and waste from your blood. If you have kidney disease like Fred Manfred, a machine has to do it for you. Fred's battle with kidney disease has been waged for the past 33 years.
"It's amazing because I'm only 31! So I don't know how that works!" Joked Manfred.
Fred's sense of humor has helped him make the most out of those years. His positive attitude also helps during dialysis sessions, some of which can take up to 5 hours.
"Depending on your body size and how much you cheat on your diet, I think they start people around three hours and then just start doing tests to see how much you need." Said Manfred.
right now, roughly one in six Americans are have chronic kidney disease. To both fight back and provide the best in care, Avera McKennan constructed a new outpatient dialysis center.
"It's just a beautiful unit and spacious, it's very spacious and it's the whole fourth floor!" Said Manfred.
Fred isn't just a client, he and his fellow patients were also creative consultants in the layout and makeup of the 22 state-of-the-art dialysis stations.
"We had the patients pick the chairs we wanted to make sure it was not just handicap accessible but handicap easy. There's a difference between meeting the bare minimums for handicap rather than making it easier for patients so we tried to do that." Said Dr. Santella.
But ask any patient and they'll tell you, the greatest feature is the abundance of windows and natural light.
"This is a great unit if you look around this is probably the brightest room on Mckennan's campus!" Said Dr. Santella.
"Of the 11 facilities I've been in, totally honest it's the brightest! And it's a big deal to me to come in and not feel like I'm in a dungeon." Said Manfred.
Even with the greatest technology dialysis is a draining process both physically and emotionally. That's why Fred says, a positive attitude is equally as important as the treatment for the disease.
"If you are wanting to get by as healthy as you can emotionally it becomes a part of your life rather than your whole life. Because there's so many demands put on a new dialysis patient from diet to everything and so to make it a part of your life and you feel more a part of the world." Said Manfred.
While the treatments do take a big chunk of his day; to Fred it's merely a check under the hood to make sure his engine is running like it should. Not to mention he gets to spend quality time with his family up here on the fourth floor.
Fred says another benefit of receiving treatment at Avera McKennan is having doctors and dialysis in the same location. If something should pop up Dr. Santella is just downstairs, not across town. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.