- Take the Kidney Disease Quiz
- Kidney Stones Slideshow Pictures
- High Blood Pressure Slideshow Pictures
- Find a local Nephrologist in your town
- Introduction to Hemodialysis
- When Your Kidneys Fail
- How Hemodialysis Works
- Adjusting to Changes
- Getting Your Vascular Access Ready
- Equipment and Procedures
- Tests to See How Well Your Dialysis Is Working
- Conditions Related to Kidney Failure and Their Treatments
- How Diet Can Help
- Financial Issues
- Hope Through Research
- Resources: Organizations That Can Help
Adjusting to Changes
Even in the best situations, adjusting to the effects of kidney failure and the time you spend on dialysis can be difficult. Aside from the "lost time," you may have less energy. You may need to make changes in your work or home life, giving up some activities and responsibilities. Keeping the same schedule you kept when your kidneys were working can be very difficult now that your kidneys have failed. Accepting this new reality can be very hard on you and your family. A counselor or social worker can answer your questions and help you cope.
Many patients feel depressed when starting dialysis, or after several months of treatment. If you feel depressed, you should talk with your social worker, nurse, or doctor because this is a common problem that can often be treated effectively.
Getting Your Vascular Access Ready
One important step before starting hemodialysis is preparing a vascular access, a site on your body from which your blood is removed and returned. A vascular access should be prepared weeks or months before you start dialysis. It will allow easier and more efficient removal and replacement of your blood with fewer complications. For more information about the different kinds of vascular accesses and how to care for them, see the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) fact sheet Vascular Access for Hemodialysis.