Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body’s needs.
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 <15.
What does dialysis do?
When your kidneys fail, dialysis keeps your body in balance by:
- removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body
- keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate
- helping to control blood pressure
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.
How long do hemodialysis treatments last?
The time needed for your dialysis depends on:
- how well your kidneys work
- how much fluid weight you gain between treatments
- how much waste you have in your body
- how big you are
- the type of artificial kidney used