It is your kidneys that cleans your blood when they are healthy, furthermore it is this organs that make hormones that keep your bones strong. When your kidneys become sick you have two options:

  • you can have a kidney transplant
  • you will need a treatment called dialysis that will replace the work of them.

Dialysis generally refers to removing waste (diffusion) and excess water (ultrafiltration) from the patient’s blood. It is also aimed at maintaining a healthy balance of certain chemicals such as potassium and sodium in one’s blood. This, in turn, helps to achieve normal blood pressure.

There are two main types of dialysis treatment. Both types filter your blood to rid your body of harmful wastes, extra salt, and water.

  • Hemodialysis uses a machine. It is sometimes called an artificial kidney. You usually go to a special clinic for treatments several times a week.
  • Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen, called the peritoneal membrane, to filter your blood.

Once you start with the dialysis treatment there may come a time when you feel you want to discontinue dialysis treatment. You may feel that dialysis is no longer maintaining or improving your quality of life. If this occurs, it is important to know that you have the right to make the decision to stop dialysis. However, before making this decision, it is important that you discuss it carefully with your loved ones and treatment team. The members of your health care team will want first of all understand why you made this decision.

How long will I live if I choose to stop dialysis?

This varies from person to person. People who stop dialysis may live anywhere from one week to several weeks, depending on the amount of kidney function they have left and their overall medical condition.

Can I really stop dialysis treatment if I want to?

Yes, dialysis patients are allowed to make decisions about stopping dialysis treatment. You are encouraged to discuss your reasons for wanting to stop treatment with your doctor, other members of your health care team and your loved ones before making a final decision.