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Home dialysis helps you regain control of your life

Being diagnosed with kidney disease can feel overwhelming and you may be anxious about lifestyle changes and having to dedicate so much time to dialysis. But it isn't like that for everyone. With home dialysis, you may feel better, enjoy more diet flexibility1,2,3 and less post-dialysis fatigue4, and fluid restrictions1,2. Plus, if the weather is bad, you can just stay home. Home dialysis lets you dialyze more frequently. You might even be able to dialyze overnight. This gives you so many more options on how you can spend your time.

How dialysis works

Once you’re diagnosed with kidney disease, it can seem like everything changes. Waste starts to build up in your blood and you feel sick including headaches, nausea, swelling and even bad breath. That’s when you need a way to replace the work that was previously being done by your kidneys. Dialysis is the medical term for removing waste and extra fluid from your blood that your kidneys can no longer remove themselves. When the waste is gone, you'll feel better.

There are two dialysis methods to choose from

There are currently two types of dialysis you can do at home: Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) and Home Hemodialysis (HHD). Home Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis are both effective ways to remove waste and excess fluid from your body. HHD uses a machine with a dialysis filter to clean your blood, while PD uses your body’s abdominal lining, the peritoneal membrane, as a natural filter.

You can do it!

For most people, either form of dialysis will work well, but there are some differences between the two and there may be medical reasons why one location and type of therapy is better for you than the other. And whether you choose PD or HHD, you don't need to be a medical expert or technician to do your dialysis at home. Your doctor, nurse or dialysis staff will teach you the proper dialysis technique and provide as many days of training as you need to feel comfortable enough with the process to do it yourself at home.

Is home dialysis right for you?

While home dialysis has many advantages and is a viable option for most people, there are some exceptions. You must be healthy enough to provide care for yourself. In some cases, you may need to have a caregiver. You will also need to have a home or place suitable for home dialysis. If you've had previous abdominal surgeries or the presence of intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease or diverticulitis, your doctor might not prescribe home dialysis. Home dialysis may also not be an option if you've had a recent history of seizures or memory difficulties. In addition, there are sanitary precautions that must be taken before, during and after dialysis, and you must be prepared for occasions or incidents that, if not recognized and responded to promptly, may be hazardous to your health. Remember, every patient is different so it is important to talk to your doctor, nurse and/or social worker to determine if there are other reasons home dialysis may not be right for you. 

1. Mucsi I, Hercz G, Uldall R, et al. "Control of serum phosphate without any phosphate binders in patients treated with nocturnal hemodialysis." Kidney International 1998;53: 1399-1404.
2. Galland R, Traeger J. "Short Daily Hemodialysis and Nutritional Status in Patients with Chronic Renal Failure." Daily Hemodialysis 2004;17: 104-108.
3. Karalis, Maria. "The Hemodialysis diet versus the Peritoneal Dialysis diet." AAKP 2005, Vol. 20, No. 4.
4. Lindsay R, Heidenheim P, Nesrallah G, et al. Minutes to Recovery after a Hemodialysis Session: a Simple Health-related Quality of Life Question That Is Reliable, Valid, and Sensitive to Change. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006;1:952-959.

  Don't let the fear of doing something new stop you from doing this, because the shocking thing is that it's amazingly easy. 

Chris, 43
Peritoneal Dialysis Patient

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