Feeling your best for a longer life

healthy dialysis lifestyle?

Dialysis is the most common treatment when your kidneys don’t work well enough to keep you healthy. Advances in technology and patient care mean that most people on dialysis live a longer, healthier life than ever before.

Dialysis means more time to share with a partner, watch children and grandchildren grow and spend time on a career or hobby.

With all of its advantages, dialysis will involve changes in some areas of your life, including:

1. Adjusting to a dialysis schedule

It takes hours each week to clean your blood. The number of hours you’ll spend on dialysis depends on the type of dialysis you choose and your kidney doctor’s dialysis prescription. 

  • People on home dialysis options have the most flexibility in terms of when and where they receive treatment.
  • People who have dialysis in a center typically spend 3-4 hours at least three times a week for their treatments.

2. Having regular laboratory tests

Each month, your blood will be drawn for several tests to tell your healthcare team how well you’re doing on dialysis. The results are used to adjust your treatment plan to help you feel your best.   

3. Taking medications

Dialysis alone can’t  replace the work the kidneys do. Your kidney doctor will prescribe medication as needed to support your dialysis and help manage any side effects or other health concerns you may be experiencing. 

4. Eating smart and balancing fluids

People living on dialysis are usually on a special diet. You may not be able to eat everything you like, and you may have to watch how much you drink . Dialysis diets vary by treatment type, with more freedom available for people who are having treatment at home. 

Your care team includes a renal dietitian who helps you develop a meal plan that fits your lifestyle and takes into consideration your overall health goals.

5. Asking for help

Your care team includes a specially trained social worker. When life on dialysis gets complicated, he or she is ready to support you with:

How long does it take to get used to life on dialysis? It varies by person and experience, of course. Most people, however, begin to adjust to their ‘new normal’ in less than six months. 

6. Knowing when to mention you are on dialysis

Whether and when you decide to tell others that you have dialysis treatments is up to you. However, when it comes to health care providers, of any kind, it’s important for you to say something so you get the right care for you. Here are some examples:

  • At the hospital. If you’re taken to the hospital, be sure to tell the doctors and nurses there that you have dialysis treatments — even if you’re at the hospital for something other than your kidney disease. 
  • Blood pressure readings. If you have a fistula/graft, be sure your blood pressure is taken on your NON dialysis access arm.
  • Blood tests. Your blood should be taken on your NON dialysis access arm and as close to the hand as possible.

In the words of our patients

I feel like it’s a whole village taking care of me. Wilson
I feel a lot better on nocturnal. It’s a world of difference compared to the day. Because it’s so much slower it’s easier on the body. When I get done I’m able to work. David
Dialysis has reversed the whole thing. Now I do 100 pushups in the morning and I do 100 pushups in the evening. I do 50 laps, and then I’ll go ride the bike. I’m not trying to impress you, I’m trying to express what dialysis can do. Ken