Frequently Asked Questions
Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood and removes extra fluids when a person’s kidneys fail. Dialysis patients typically require treatment on an ongoing basis unless they receive a kidney transplant.
How often is treatment needed?
Typically, in-center hemodialysis is conducted during the day, three times a week for three to five hours per session.
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best test to measure patients’ kidney function and determine their stage of kidney disease. Doctors can calculate patients’ GFR levels from their blood creatinine test results, age, race, gender and other factors.
The earlier kidney disease is detected, the better the chance of slowing or stoppingits progression.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main causes of CKD. Other causes include glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys’ blood-filtering nephron tubes; inherited diseases such as polycystic kidney disease and some birth defects,lupus, malformed kidneys, immune diseases, kidney stones and repeated urinary tract infections.
All these conditions damage the kidneys’ nephrons so they cannot do their job as filters. This leads to a buildup of wastes and extra fluid in the blood, which makes people sick. The kidneys also lose their ability to produce hormones that assist in making red blood cells, controlling blood pressure and maintaining healthy bones.
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- A family history of CKD
- Premature birth
- Being African, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian
- Blockages in your kidneys or ureters – these can be treated by family doctors
- Overuse of over-the-counter pain relievers containing aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. Patients should talk to their doctors if they take pain relievers every day, or even a few times per week
- Taking street drugs
- Taking prescription drugs that patients are allergic to. Patients are advised to know about their drug allergies and promptly tell their doctors about any symptoms they have after starting a new drug.
People experiencing any of the symptoms below should talk to a doctor to find out if
they are at risk for CKD. Symptoms should only be interpreted in consultation with a medical professional.
Signs and symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- Bone disease
- Muscle cramps
- Blood and/or protein in the urine
- More frequent urination, particularly at night; difficult or painful urination
- Puffiness around eyes, swollen hands and feet