Choosing Treatment Options to Fit Your Lifestyle

When Croatia resident Muris Mujicic developed kidney disease, he had to make some decisions about how to treat his condition.

It a situation an estimated 660,000 Americans know all too well, according to the National Kidney Foundation. When your kidneys can no longer remove toxins and fluids from your body and lifestyle changes and medication aren’t enough, sometimes dialysis is the only option.

And if you’re newly diagnosed with kidney failure, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about your quality of life and longevity.

  • Should you get dialysis treatments in a clinic?
  • Can you do it at home?
  • If you get on a kidney transplant list, how long will you have to wait?

Mujicic decided on dialysis treatments as his best option, while waiting for a kidney transplant, thinking it would be a short-term solution. And it was, sort of.

He received a kidney transplant during his first year on dialysis, but it failed. So he continued to get regular dialysis treatments. About 11 years later, he was fortunate enough to receive another kidney transplant. But that one failed too.

If you’re in need of a kidney transplant, here’s a sobering fact. The average wait time for a kidney transplant is 3 to 5 years. And that means you’ll need to be diligent about dialysis treatments until that day comes.

Despite two failed kidney transplants, Mujicic lived a long and happy life, spending 41 years and 112 days on dialysis, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

If you need dialysis to do the work your kidneys can’t, take a little time to explore your options.

  • Hemodialysis in a clinic (two options). Ask your doctor about ways a clinic can accommodate your schedule and your lifestyle for dialysis treatments.
  • Peritoneal dialysis at home (three options). Be prepared to learn how to administer dialysis on your own at home with the help of a partner.
  • Or a combination of the two. If one treatment option doesn’t work, you can always try another form of dialysis.

Whichever form of dialysis treatment you choose, one of the key lifestyle habits of managing your condition is eating the right foods. If you’re living with kidney failure, you’ll need to limit sodium, potassium, and phosphorus in your diet.