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    How long can you live on dialysis?


    If your kidneys have failed, you will need to have dialysis treatments for your whole life unless you are able to get a kidney transplant. Life expectancy on dialysis can vary depending on your other medical conditions and how well you follow your treatment plan. Average life expectancy on dialysis is 5-10 years, however, many patients have lived well on dialysis for 20 or even 30 years. Talk to your healthcare team about how to take care of yourself and stay healthy on dialysis.




    Where is dialysis done?


    Dialysis can be done in a hospital, in a dialysis unit that is not part of a hospital, or at home. Where you have your treatment performed will depend on your unique diagnosis and overall health. You will work with your doctor to decide which place is best, and you will make a plan based on your medical condition and your wishes.




    Will dialysis help cure kidney disease?


    In some cases of sudden or acute kidney failure, dialysis may only be needed for a short time until the kidneys get better. However, in the case of chronic kidney disease - if your CKD progresses to kidney failure over time, usually, a your kidneys will continue to lose more and more function, and you will thus need dialysis for the rest of your life (unless you are able to receive a kidney transplant).




    How long has dialysis been available?


    Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis have been done since the mid 1940's. Dialysis, as a regular treatment, was begun in 1960 and is now a standard treatment all around the world. CAPD began in 1976. Thousands of patients have been helped by these treatments.




    Is kidney failure permanent?


    Usually, but not always. Some kinds of acute kidney failure get better after treatment. In some cases of acute kidney failure, dialysis may only be needed for a short time until the kidneys get better. In chronic or end stage kidney failure, your kidneys do not get better and you will need dialysis for the rest of your life. If your doctor says you are a candidate, you may choose to be placed on a waiting list for a new kidney.




    When is dialysis needed?


    You need dialysis when you develop end stage kidney failure --usually by the time you lose about 85 to 90 percent of your kidney function and have a GFR of less than 15. Click here to learn more about the stages of Chronic Kidney Disease and GFR.




    Is dialysis uncomfortable? Does it hurt?


    You may have some discomfort when the needles are put into your fistula or graft, but most patients have no other problems. The dialysis treatment itself is painless. However, some patients may have a drop in their blood pressure. If this happens, you may feel sick to your stomach, vomit, have a headache or cramps. With frequent treatments, those problems usually go away.




    Is dialysis expensive?


    Paying for dialysis on your own, without the benefit of insurance or government assistance, is an expensive treatment, yes. However, you should not need to pay for dialysis entirely on your own, as the federal government pays 80 percent of all dialysis costs for most patients. Private health insurance or state Medicaid programs also help with the costs. Click here to learn more about insurance options




    Do dialysis patients live normal lives?


    Many patients live normal lives except for the time needed for treatments. Dialysis usually makes you feel better because it helps many of the problems caused by kidney failure. You and your family will need time to get used to dialysis.




    Do dialysis patients have to eat special diets?


    Yes. Generally speaking, patients on dialysis are advised to increase their protein intake and limit the amount of potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and fluid in their diet. Patients with diabetes or other health conditions may have additional diet restrictions. It's important to talk with you dietitian about your individual diet needs. Click here to learn more about diet for dialysis patients




    Can I travel if I am on dialysis?


    Yes. Dialysis centers are located in every part of the United States and in many foreign countries. The treatment is standardized. You must make an appointment for dialysis treatments at another center before you go. The staff at your center may help you make the appointment. Click here to learn more about traveling on dialysis




    Will I be able to work if I am on dialysis?


    Many dialysis patients can go back to work after they have gotten used to dialysis. If you have a job involves a lot of physical labor (heavy lifting, digging, etc. ), your doctor may recommend you consult with your employer about adjusting your existing work duties. If that is not possible, your may need to consider explore new employment opportunities altogether. Click here to learn more about working with kidney disease