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Going into Kidney Failure: Understanding Your Treatment Options
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If your doctor has told you that you’re in or entering kidney failure, you may feel frightened and overwhelmed. These feelings are perfectly natural. It’s important, however, to remember that you do have options. Kidney failure has no cure, but it is treatable. You have three treatment options to choose from, and your nephrologist will help you choose the right one for you.

 

Dialysis

Dialysis is a common kidney failure treatment. Kidney dialysis is a way of cleaning the waste from your body manually when your kidneys can no longer do so. It involves using one of two methods. The first is hemodialysis. Most hemodialysis patients visit a clinic three times a week for three or four hours at a time. During this time a tube carries the blood from your body to a machine that cleans it for you. The cleaned blood is then returned to your body. Some people qualify to receive special training and equipment that allows them to perform hemodialysis at home.

 

The other option is peritoneal dialysis. Usually done at home, this procedure involves using a surgically placed tube to fill your abdomen with a special fluid. This fluid absorbs the waste in your body and is then removed, taking your body’s waste products along with it. Some people do this several times a day while others are able to let the fluid work overnight while they sleep.

 

Transplant

Sometimes kidney failure treatment involves a kidney transplant. In this case, a recently deceased person or a living donor gift you a healthy, functioning kidney. Doctors will place this kidney in your body where it will hopefully take over the job of filtering the waste. It’s important to be aware, however, that those in kidney failure must pass many medical tests and may have to wait several years for a new kidney. There is also no guarantee that your body will accept your new organ. You will have to take anti-rejection medications for the rest of your life after a kidney transplant, and these can cause other health issues.

 

Conservative Care

Conservative care involves treating the symptoms of kidney failure and keeping you comfortable while the disease runs its course. You may choose this option if you have another terminal illness and treatment would not add quality to your life. This choice is yours to make with the help of your doctor, and you can expect your care team to respect your decision and help your loved ones understand it.

 

Your doctor can’t cure kidney failure, but he can offer you multiple treatment options. After choosing the right treatment option for them, many people go on to live long and fulfilling lives in spite of their kidney problems. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with kidney failure, take a little time to digest the news and then choose the treatment option that will get you back to living a vibrant and meaningful life.



By Lizzie Weakley
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Biography: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time she enjoys playing with her Husky Snowball camping and binging on Netflix.

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