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What to do when the kidneys are failing?

What happens when the Kidneys stop working? - The Treatments

Overview Transplant Dialysis Conservative Care More Support Keep Well!

For many Kidney disease can often be slowed down or even halted. This is done by the right exercise, the right diet and the right medication. How people manage these things can make all the difference.

If the kidneys do fail and treatment is needed, it is the right exercise diet & medication that is going enable people to do well.

These webpages and the renal staff can help you with this.

Some HomeWork! Before I visit you at your home it can be useful for you to look at some of the videos and read up a bit about renal replacement therapy. Doing this might give you more questions. Perhaps at least read this page.

Information is on this website
. Things to get to know:

  • How to look after yourself - to get the best from treatment (and ultimately feel better and happier).

  • Understand the differing treatments, learn which are suitable for you, and choose the one you want to do.

  • Have your questions answered. You may email/ring/write me anytime - scroll down for contact information

Take your time! There is a lot of information!

START HERE for a 17 point overview.
I recommend that you read this whole page (doesn't take long) before you click on any of the links so that you get an overview of the treatment. Then click on what you're interested in.

Please contact me when you think you know which treatment option you want to go for if your kidneys stop working; and if you have any questions or worries.

  1. Life on dialysis or with a transplant can be happy and enjoyable and rewarding. Those on treatment can still go on holidays, get pleasure from work, sport and hobbies and have fun with family.  Yet living with lifelong treatment remains a mental, emotional and physical journey with ups and downs. Getting your head right with treatment is important. See

      1. See ’10 steps for coping with a chronic condition

      2. See  Free Renal Counselling help.

  2. Kidneys slowly fail over time (usually). If we find out that our kidneys are failing there is often time to do something about it.

  3. With today's lifestyle and food industry we are all at risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. These 2 diseases are the biggest reasons why people end up on dialysis or need a kidney transplant.

  4. Whatever the cause of kidney disease, regular exercise and a healthy diet can help slow the disease down and for some even prevent the need for dialysis.

  5. A balanced healthy diet and regular exercise can also keep more treatment options open and can help people live longer and feel better once they start treatment.

  6. Regular exercise is suitable for everybody. It’s finding the type of exercise that is suitable for you. The rules of Exercise are that it:

          1. Does not injure you.

          2. Gets you a little out of breath

          3. Gets your heart going faster

          4. Warms your body up a bit

          5. Is done 5 to 7 times a week for about 30 minutes, and made a lifelong habit

          6. Is enjoyable and leaves you with a feel good factor

  7. Anything is better than nothing. You can read about exercise and its health benefits here.

  8. You can read about diet here.

  9. We cannot survive without kidney function. If the kidneys fully fail we need renal replacement therapy (a kidney transplant or dialysis) to stay alive.

  10. Most people whose kidneys fail are not medically suitable for a kidney transplant. Your kidney doctor can tell you.

  11. Some people are not suitable for certain types of dialysis – again your kidney doctor can tell you.

  12. If you are medically suitable for more than one type of renal replacement therapy then it is your choice as to which one you do.

        1. Kidney Transplantation. There are 2 ways to do this:
            • Getting a kidney from somebody who knows you (a live donor transplant)
            • Getting a kidney from somebody who has died (a deceased donor transplant)
        2. Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) - always done at home - that means no regular need to go to hospital for treatment. There are 2 ways of doing PD:
            • CAPD (continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis)
            • APD (automated peritoneal dialysis)
        3. Haemodialysis (HD) - There are 2 ways of doing HD:
            • HD (haemodialysis). Done at hospital. People go to hospital 3 times a week (every week) for a 4 hour session.
            • HHD (home haemodialysis). HD done at home after training people how to do it. All supplies are provided free. Saves people needing to stick to inflexible hospital appointments.
  13. These treatments are explained under the tabs below but here is a PowerPoint file summarising them to start with.

  14. Everybody should preserve their arm veins for the possible future need of a fistula – this is all explained under the ‘Fistula’ tab found under the ‘Dialysis’ tab below.

  15. Some people’s kidneys fail only when they have become very frail and perhaps very old. For these people doing any sort of renal replacement therapy might cause more stress and harm than help and not prolong their life or make them feel better. If there is a risk that a person would not benefit from any sort of renal replacement therapy (ever) then it might be that choosing not to have these treatments is best. This treatment option is called Conservative Management of kidney failure and this is explained under the tab below.

  16. A list of support groups and all the renal staff contact details are on this website also.

  17. Under the ‘Resource’ tab (top of page) there is more support e.g. the facility to look up your own blood results online. This site also explains what they mean.

Treatment tabs

Overview Transplant Dialysis Conservative Care More Support Keep Well!

Please contact me when you think you know which treatment option you want to go for if your kidneys stop working; and if you have any questions or worries.

If you would like to have a look around the renal unit and chat to people already on treatment (dialysis/transplanted), I can arrange a safe way to do this. Contact me if interested.

GO HERE for information about Coronavirus and Kidney disease