How is kidney failure treated?

Kidney failure treatment is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treating your chronic medical condition can delay the progression of kidney disease. If your kidneys start losing their function gradually, your doctor may use one or more methods to track your health. By watching you closely, your doctor can help you maintain your kidneys’ function as long as possible.

Your doctor may gauge your kidney function with:

  • Routine blood tests
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Medication

Because the kidneys serve such an important purpose, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are:

  • Dialysis: This treatment helps the body filter the blood (doing the job that the kidneys can no longer perform).
    • In hemodialysis, a machine regularly cleans your blood for you. People often receive this kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3 or 4 days each week.
    • Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood in a slightly different way using a dialysis solution and a catheter. Sometimes, people can do their treatment at home.
  • Kidney transplant: In kidney transplant surgery, doctors place a healthy kidney in your body to take over the job of your damaged organs. This healthy kidney, called a donor organ, may come from a deceased donor or a living donor, who may be a friend or family member. People can live well with one healthy kidney.

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