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A 27-year-old male asked:

when is a kidney patient supposed to be on dialysis?

5 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Elden Rand
Cardiology 21 years experience
Kidney dysfunction: When the kidney function becomes insufficient, that is the ability to make urine and process the blood. It is not specifically a certain lab number, although when the clearance value reaches below a certain number, it means that the time is near to consider dialysis. Usually when the time is getting near, your nephrologist will discuss and arrange dialysis access. Ideally months before needed.
Dr. Rizwan Badar
Nephrology and Dialysis 25 years experience
IT DEPENDS: There are no set values at which a patient should be placed on dialysis. It is a decision that needs to be made by the patient and physician to avoid progression of symptoms such as feeling tired and ill all the time, volume overload in the body not corrected by medications, and declining nutritional status. It is important to be ready for dialysis before a patient requires it emergently.
Dr. Jack Rubin
Nephrology and Dialysis 48 years experience
Onset of dialysis: There are several symptoms that indicate one to start dialysis. These are: intractable nausea and vomiting, reversal of day-night sleeping patterns, high potassium levels and fluid overload both refractory to therapy, itching and anorexia. A nephrologist's input is crucial when discussing the timing of the onset of dialysis with a patient and the patient's family.
Dr. Robert Benz
Nephrology and Dialysis 47 years experience
Variable, see below: Generally when kidney function is less than 10%, ie GFR < 10 ml/minute. It may be sooner if patient is having symptoms or other findings (high potassium, chf).
Dr. Linda Gromko
Family Medicine 48 years experience
When kidneys fail...: Dialysis is required when the kidneys are no longer able to do the work of removing the body's toxins, removing extra fluid, and keeping the body's acid/base balance normal. (The kidney has other functions, too.) Doctors follow lab tests (a rising creatinine and/or falling eGFR) to detemine when a patient requires dialysis. Ask your nephrologist for answers that fit your body! LGromkoMD

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Can a renal function lab test detect if a kidney stone is developing?

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Dr. Jeff Livingston
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No: A renal function lab would be unlikely to show a developing kidney stones. Most kidney stones are diagnosed because of severe pain in the flank radiating down to the groin. They can be seen on xray, CT scan or sometimes ultrasound. Blood tests are usually normal.
A 21-year-old member asked:

What is kidney failure and how is it treated?

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Dr. Rajesh Boorgu
Nephrology and Dialysis 27 years experience
Low kidney function: Kidney failure can be caused by many things but in United States it is primarily diabetes and hypertension. Thus treatment is focused on effective control of the underlying problem. Primary kidney diseases such as glomerulonephritis have to be treated by a nephrologist.
A 24-year-old member asked:

How do I get a kidney transplant?

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Dr. Stuart Flechner
Urology 46 years experience
Need a Tx Center: You need to be evaluated by the transplant team at an approved transplant center. They will go over the process and describe what is required to be wait listed for a kidney. One early suggestion, avoid any blood transfusions until you are evaluated. If you become sensitized from an elective blood transfusion, you may wait years or never receive a kidney.
A 22-year-old member asked:

How long is the wait for a kidney transplant?

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Dr. Stuart Flechner
Urology 46 years experience
Months to Many Years: No clear answer since it depends on your degree of sensitization to hla antigens, your ABO blood type, and the region of the country you live in. It can range from months to many years. A lucky few % receive a perfectly (hla) matched kidney from anywhere in the country. These are called zero mismatched shared kidneys. The best way to reduce waiting time is try and find a willing living donor.
A 21-year-old member asked:

Which types of kidney diseases are associated with family history?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Tarek Naguib
Nephrology and Dialysis 40 years experience
Examples include: Poly cystic kidney disease and fabry's disease. Also, many heritable illnesses like diabetes and hypertension and high cholesterol could precipitate kidney disease. Also, bad habits running in families e.g. Unhealthy eating habits will cause obesity and increase the risk of kidney disease.

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Last updated Sep 16, 2017

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