Finding What Fits: Your Treatment Choices

When it comes to treating end stage renal disease (ESRD), one size does not fit all. With your physician’s guidance, you can choose from several types of treatment options to find the one that best suits your health and lifestyle needs.

How to choose the right treatment

As you begin the conversation with your care team about which treatment option is right for you, remember that you're not stuck with this option for life. The treatment that's right for you right now may not be tomorrow, and you can always speak with your doctor about changing. Here are a few considerations to help inform your decision.

  • Do you like to lead an active lifestyle?
  • Do you want more control of your schedule and time?
  • Do you currently have daytime obligations such as work or school?
  • Do you want to consider performing your own dialysis treatments?
  • Do you want to do your treatments at home or in a center?
  • Do you have someone available to help you with treatments at home?

Which treatment suits your needs?

Take a brief look at the different treatment options:

Kidney transplant

  • The preferred treatment for kidney disease.
  • Freedom to enjoy life with no dialysis-related schedule restrictions.
  • Virtually no diet or fluid limitations.

The wait for a kidney transplant varies greatly. Learn more about kidney transplants.

Peritoneal dialysis (PD)

  • Usually preserves remaining kidney function for a longer period of time than hemodialysis.
  • Can be performed at home or work.
  • Needle-free and blood never leaves your body.
  • Fits your schedule, with fewer diet restrictions and more travel flexibility.

Peritoneal dialysis is often done at night in your home for 8-10 hours, using an automated cycler machine while you sleep. Or you may use a manual PD method, which usually means doing four to five 30-minute fluid exchanges a day to clean your blood fully.

Home hemodialysis (HHD)

  • Performed in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
  • Flexible treatment times can be arranged around your schedule.
  • A care partner is needed to assist you with treatments.

People on home hemodialysis have the option to dialyze more frequently to achieve improved health benefits. Short, daily treatments are generally performed five or six times a week for two to three hours per session.

In-Center Hemodialysis

  • Performed in a dialysis center.
  • Trained medical professionals are with you at all times.
  • Social interaction with staff and other patients.

The usual schedule for in-center hemodialysis is three times a week, for about three to four hours each treatment, plus travel time to and from the center. Or you may consider in-center nocturnal dialysis (available at some centers).

Take a treatment choice quiz

Find the treatment option that may be the best for you by taking a short quiz with the Treatment Evaluator tool today.

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