Dialysis is a procedure that replaces some of the kidney's normal functions and is performed when a person's own kidneys can no longer function adequately to maintain life.
In the U.S. today more than 100,000 individuals undergo dialysis treatments to stay alive. Treatment with dialysis is necessary when a person experiences kidney failure, usually when more than 95 percent of normal kidney function is gone in both kidneys.
Like healthy kidneys, dialysis keeps the body in balance by:
1. removing waste products, including salt, and excess fluids that build-up in the body
2. maintaining a safe level of blood chemicals in the body, such as potassium, sodium and chloride
3. controlling blood pressure
Some forms of kidney failure are temporary and may get better. This is called acute kidney failure. Dialysis may be necessary for a short period of time until the kidneys recover.
Chronic or end-stage kidney failure is the result of an irreversible scarring process which results in kidney shutdown. Chronic kidney failure does not get better and patients need dialysis treatments for the rest of their lives, or if they are medically eligible, they may choose to be placed on a waiting list to receive a kidney transplant.
What form of kidney failure is it?
Which type of dialysis is best for this particular circumstance?
Can a family member be trained to administer the dialysis at home?
Is high flux dialysis available locally?
Can a person stay physically active while on dialysis?
What are the risks and benefits of dialysis?