What Is Dialysis?
Who needs dialysis
When a person with chronic kidney disease (CKD) reaches end stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as kidney failure or stage 5 CKD, the kidneys are no longer functioning to filter and clean the blood the way healthy kidneys normally would. Without treatment, life-threatening waste and toxins will build up in the body. At this point, dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant is needed to prolong life.
Doctors use a number of kidney function tests when determining kidney health. Early diagnosis of CKD and regular monitoring can help you keep kidney function for as long as possible—and allow you and your doctor to plan for ESRD treatment when necessary.
EXPLORE TREATMENT OPTIONS
There are several treatment options when kidney failure occurs at stage 5 CKD. Discuss all the choices with your doctor to determine what’s right for you.
How does dialysis work?
What are the 2 types of dialysis?
Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are the 2 main kinds of dialysis. Both types of dialysis filter unwanted waste from your bloodstream. Depending on which type of dialysis you choose, you may also have options for treating in a center or at home.
Hemodialysis filters your blood through a dialysis machine. Once you are connected to the machine via your hemodialysis access, blood flows into the machine, gets filtered and is returned to your body. There is a choice in where you do hemodialysis and who performs the treatment. In-center hemodialysis is performed by a trained team of nurses and technicians. At-home hemodialysis can be performed in the comfort of your own home, either with the help of a care partner or on your own. See how hemodialysis machines work.
Peritoneal dialysis uses the blood vessels in the lining of your abdomen—the body's natural filter—along with a solution called dialysate to filter blood via a peritoneal catheter. With this method, blood never leaves your body. At-home peritoneal dialysis can be done with a machine or manually at home, at work or even while traveling. See how peritoneal dialysis machines work.
Dialysis treatment is prescribed by your doctor. Together, you and your doctor will discuss treatment options and determine what's right for you. If you decide to go on dialysis, your doctor will prescribe your treatment time and frequency based on your unique health needs. It's important to complete your dialysis treatment exactly as prescribed to feel your best.
What is dialysis: the facts at a glance
Kidney dialysis is a treatment that can help you live well with ESRD.
- Dialysis can take the place of many healthy kidney functions.
- Dialysis empowers people with kidney failure to live full, productive lives.
- There are 2 types of kidney dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
- More and more people are choosing home dialysis, which can offer greater flexibility and better outcomes.
- The best dialysis option for you is the one that best fits your lifestyle and health needs.
- Many people switch dialysis types to fit a changing lifestyle at some point during long-term treatment.