When is dialysis prescribed?

Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Medicine

Your doctor will prescribe dialysis treatment when you develop end stage kidney failure and have lost 85- 90 percent of your kidney functions.   Three tests can be used to determine Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD):  Urine albumin, serum creatinine and your blood pressure.

Dialysis is prescribed when the kidneys are in failure, or only 10%-15% of normal kidney function remains. Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste and other fluids and minerals in the body. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, this waste builds up in the body and causes several complications. These complications include heart failure, high levels of potassium or calcium in the blood, too much fluid in the lungs, loss of appetite, and vomiting. If other methods of treating kidney failure are insufficient, your doctor may prescribe dialysis.

Continue Learning about Dialysis


Healthy kidneys remove waste from your blood and produce hormones your body needs. If your kidneys fail, you either need a kidney transplant or dialysis. Dialysis is a procedure that uses a machine to perform many of the functions ...

of the kidney. Dialysis can help prevent problems resulting from kidney failure and it allows people with kidney failure to live productive lives. Dialysis filters your blood, and like a health kidney, removes waste from your blood. Patients using dialysis are also required to follow a strict diet in order to stay healthy. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. There are different advantages and disadvantages with both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Talk to your doctor about which type of dialysis would work better for you.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.