Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 10—Getting Adequate Dialysis

Grandson hugging his grandfather

When Leroy, age 61, learned he needed dialysis, he was scared. But his nephrologist said he'd start feeling much better in a few weeks, as extra water and wastes were removed from his body. It didn't quite work that way.

After a few weeks of standard in-center hemodialysis (HD), Leroy still felt awful. He was sick to his stomach. He had a metal taste in his mouth that made food taste bad. And he itched like crazy. Leroy didn't even have the energy to help his grandson work on his basketball jump shot. He made an appointment with his nephrologist.

From his doctor, Leroy learned that standard in-center HD replaces only a small fraction of the work of healthy kidneys. Healthy kidneys are on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—that's 168 hours a week!

It turned out that Leroy was not yet getting the right amount of HD. He needed more treatment to get adequate HD—enough to keep him feeling good so he could keep doing the things he loves. His doctor adjusted his treatment. In a few weeks, he really was feeling better, and he started coaching basketball again.

Leroy, now on dialysis for 4 years, learned something he hasn't forgotten: dialysis is not a one size fits all treatment. So how do you know if you're getting enough dialysis? And what happens if you don't get all you need? This module will answer these questions and more.

Take the Kidney Quiz!

You'll have a better sense of how much you're learning if you take our quick kidney quiz before you start. It's just 8 questions. How about it?

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Getting adequate dialysis helps you feel better and live longer, and improves your overall health. And since it is your health, it makes sense for you to take an active role in getting the dialysis you need. Taking an active role means:

  • Understanding your dialysis prescription
  • Making sure you get all of the dialysis your doctor prescribes
  • Knowing when you're getting adequate dialysis

By the time you finish this module, you will know how to do your part and get all the dialysis you need. So, let's get started!

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