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The definition of a brain death-diagnosis is death based upon the non-existence of any neurologic function. Families who had lost a family member who was declared brain dead, can have questions regarding this term.
Brain death: A description
The term, brain death, comprises of a legal death-definition. It is when an individual’s entire brain functioning stopped and is irreversible. Due to serious and severe injury or trauma to the brain, the blood supply from the body to the brain is totally blocked and it leads to the dying of the brain. When brain death is diagnosed, it is death, which is permanent.
How is the decision made that a person is brain dead?
A doctor will conduct tests to come to the conclusion that brain death occurred. These types of tests are based upon both sound as well as legitimate acquired medical guidelines. Tests incorporate a clinical examination to demonstrate that a person has no brain-reflexes, whilst he / she can’t breathe by themself. Certain situations may require additional tests. Ask the doctor to explain how your loved one’s brain death, was established.
It is possible that a person may show some reflexes or spinal activity like muscle contractions or twitching. Electrical impulses cause spinal reflexes which can stay behind in the individual’s spinal column. Such reflexes can occur despite the fact that the person’s brain is dead.
Whilst tests are conducted, what happens to the person?
A ventilator, a machine which breathes for the individual will be attached to the person. The ventilator is required because no signals can be send by the brain, informing the lungs to breathe. Special drugs assisting in maintaining blood pressure as well as other body functions, may be administered. While the doctor is conducting the brain death-testing, the administering of medications and the ventilator-function will continue. However, it won’t affect the test results.
Do drugs exist which can stop brain-functioning which may result in a false diagnosis?
Brain function can be masked by drugs like sedatives and muscle relaxants. Brain death testing can just be conducted when the person has low levels of above-mentioned drugs in his / her body. It can be required to wait until such levels go down. Then the doctor will be able to measure brain activity, accurately. Sometimes, more tests are conducted to be able to confirm brain death, when there are a presence of specific drugs in the individual’s body.
When brain death is diagnosed, why does the person’s heart continue to beat?
The heart can function continuously while it has oxygen. The oxygen provided by the ventilator can enable the heart to beat for a number of hours. Without the assistance of the ventilator the heart will stop to beat.
The possibility of a person to be in a coma?
It is impossible, because a person in a coma, will constantly have brain function and activity. At the incidence of brain death, the brain will completely stop to function, which is irreversible.
Can anything more be done?
Everything possible is done to save a person’s life before the confirmation of brain death. After brain death is diagnosed, nothing can be done.
When a person is diagnosed as brain dead, what happens to him / her?
When brain death is diagnosed, the person will be pronounced legally dead. It is the time which should be stated on his / her death certificate. The removal of the ventilator does not determine the person’s time of death.
Can a person experience pain or suffering after the declaration of brain death?
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The answer is no, when somebody is dead, no suffering or pain is experienced.
What happens after the diagnosis of brain death?
A medical professional will inform you and the family. Certain decisions will be discussed. Some of these decisions may include: the removal of the ventilator and taking a decision concerning organ or / and tissue donation. Just keep in mind that the person is already pronounced legally dead and the removal of the ventilator can’t cause death.
How many kidneys?
- Nearly everyone has two kidneys.
- They are the size of one’s fist
- Kidneys are inside your body
- Kidneys are very important organs
- They are situated in the lower back, one on each side of the spine
What is the kidney’s job?
- The kidneys are very busy organs
- You can call them washing machines, cleaning your blood.
- Your kidneys filter your blood and cleans out all the dirt or waste in the bloodstream.
- The kidneys send all waste products into your bladder changed into urine
- Kidneys are team-workers.
- Other important organs which are team-workers too are your lungs, heart, stomach, muscles and brain
How does it feel to have kidney disease?
- When your kidneys are sick, you can feel some different things
- Your hands and feet can be swollen
- Your eyes can look puffy
- Food can taste weird
- You don’t feel hungry
- Going to the bathroom can cause a burning feeling
- During the night you may wake up to visit the bathroom, many times
- Many times you are feeling very tired
- You may feel pain in the lower back near your kidneys
- Sometimes you may see some blood in your pee
- Your lower back can ache near your kidney-area
Why do kidneys not work well in some people?
- If you make good and healthy choices it can help that your body not to get sick.
- Sometimes people get sick even when they made good choices
- We can have diseases which our parents passed on to us
- Accidents can hurt or make you body sick too
- When your kidneys hurt, it happens and it is not your mistake
To take good care of your body is the best. It can help you staying as healthy as you can, even if you are sick
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Many of your body’s organs are affected by consuming alcohol. This includes your kidneys. Some occasional drinking of one or two alcoholic drinks normally doesn’t have any serious effects. However, excessive drinking can cause great damage to your health. Furthermore, kidney disease can be worsened by it!
What type of damage does alcohol cause to the kidneys?
- The kidneys eliminate damaging waste products from the blood.
- Alcohol is such a waste substance
- Alcohol bring about changes in the functioning of your kidneys
- It can affect the kidneys’ function to filter the blood effectively
- Another function of the kidneys is to keep balance of the fluids in your body
- Alcohol is a dehydrating substance; this drying effect has an influence on the normal functioning of organs and cells which include your kidneys.
- Affects blood pressure; heavy drinkers are more prone to develop high blood pressure.
- High blood pressure drugs may be influenced by alcohol
- More than 2 drinks on a daily basis can elevate your chance to develop blood pressure
- One of the common causes of kidney disorder, is high blood pressure
- Excessive drinking results in liver damage, which in turn complicates kidney functioning
- The tempo of blood flowing to the kidneys is maintained at an established level. This enables the kidneys to do their filtering function in an effective way.
- Liver disease diminishes the balancing function of the kidneys
- The majority of US patients who have liver disease as well as associated kidney malfunction are addicted to alcohol
How much alcohol seems to be too much?
- One alcoholic drink is:
- Beer – one bottle of 12-ounces
- Wine – one 5-ounces glass
- Hard liquor like brandy, vodka, whiskey, gin etc – one tot 1.5 ounces
- Women: 3 drinks daily or above 7 weekly – heavy drinking
- Men: 4 drinks daily or above 14 weekly – heavy drinking
- Regular excessive drinking, doubles your risk for getting kidney disease
- 4 to 5 drinks or more within 2 hours (binge drinking) can result in raising the blood alcohol levels of a person dangerously. This can result in a sudden drop in the functioning of your kidneys, also called acute kidney injury
- Dialysis is required when acute kidney injury occurs until the kidneys function is normal again.
- Certain individuals should become teetotallers (drink nothing)
- Normally acute kidney injury vanishes over a period of time. However, sometimes it can result in lasting kidney damage
- Older people, women and people with small bodies must take special care
- Ask your doctor, when you are using medication or have a medical disorder about the safety to drink alcohol. Some medicines can be influenced by alcohol.
- Pregnant women should totally avoid drinking alcohol
What to do when alcohol is excessive and kidneys are damaged?
- Speak to your doctor and enquire whether you can consume alcohol safely.
- Guideline: 1 to 2 drinks daily for men whilst one drink daily is recommended for people older than 65 and women
- Drink alcohol in moderation
Description of an Advance Directive Regarding kidney failure peritoneal- or haemodialysis
This can include blood products too. When you take a decision to accept donor blood, or prefer only family members’ blood
Kidney Dialysis & Advance Directives
This legal document can stipulate the particular conditions to your healthcare provider and loved ones, when youSince 1991, an act (Patient Self Determination-Act) is in place which enables adults and adolescents of 18 years and above with the right to take future decisions now, concerning their preferable healthcare treatment. Their decisions will come into play when they are not able to communicate their wishes at such a time.
According to the above-mentioned law nursing homes, healthcare agencies and hospitals have to inform patients about their right having such a legal document, named an advance directive.
Advance directives: Two types
A healthcare proxy or durable power-of-attorney, for taking healthcare decisions. This will allow you to appoint an individual, like a wife, husband, another family-member or good friend, acting on your behalf when you are incapacitated and can’t take your own medical decisions. You must ask such an individual whether he / she will be willing to become your representative and stipulate which treatments you would prefer and which not. They also have to take into account values and goals in the short- as well as long term.
The second type is a living will. This will inform your doctor which kind of medical- and healthcare treatment you prefer or don’t want, in writing. This will get effective when you become incapable to communicate or to take medical decisions.
An Advance Directive: Kinds of decisions
Having this legal document allows you to accept all, accept some or refuse some or refuse all the types of treatments recommended by your healthcare professional, as stipulated in the document. Furthermore, you can opt to obtain pain medication for comfort, despite the fact that you for instance refused other kinds of treatments. Treatments can include:
- Tube feedings
Food or water administered into your stomach or intravenous
- CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
Restoring your blood circulation and breathing, which can include: drugs, heart massaging, a respirator or ventilator, and / or electric shocks.
Required to fight against inflammation or infection
- Artificial respiration
This can be a ventilator or respirator to assist you to breathe via a tube in your throat
For example gall-bladder surgery or heart surgery
During end-stag would feel limited about your quality of life. You may for example opt to stop kidney dialysis when you are brain damaged due to a stroke or in case you became dependent on other people, due to Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand you can also stipulate that you accept to live in all circumstances.
Important points to take into consideration
- Advance directive forms
These forms are available at the majority of centres for senior citizens, certain healthcare professionals and your local or state bar association.
- No law requirement
The law don’t require you to have such an advance directive.
- List your own treatments
You are allowed to make a list of preferable treatments and those you don’t want, without a form. However, a medical provider and/or a court may refuse to accept it.
- A Lawyer not required
You don’t need a lawyer for an advance directive. On the other hand you may prefer to speak to either a social worker or lawyer to comprehend the laws applicable in your state.
- Consult with your doctor
You may want to speak with your healthcare provider prior to making such an advance directive. Your doctor can discuss different treatment options and whether he/she has any objections to carry out the options.
- Inform the necessary individuals
Inform the required individuals about such an advance directive. Tell your doctor, family and friends that you have an advance directive. This can be filed in your medical file.
- Requirements of State laws
It is possible that state laws may need your advance directive to be notarized or witnessed. This service can be rendered by banks or certain businesses that have notaries.
- Changing an advance directive
In case you want to change information in your advance directive, it will be necessary to inform every individual who has received a copy and then hand them your new document. In the case of cancellation, you will have to claim back all copies.
- When will it go into effect
Your advance directive only goes into effect when you become unable to speak for yourself or taking decisions regarding your health.
- Healthcare quality
Your healthcare quality won’t be affected by an advance directive
- Health- or life insurance
Your advance directive won’t have any effect on either health- or life insurance.
- Organ donation
If you wish to become a tissue- or organ donor, you can stipulate it in the advance directive. Inform you family of your wishes, to enable them to carry it out.
- Religious views
Discuss your religious views with both your religious advisor and family to enable them to comprehend your specific religion’s opinions concerning advance directives.