Kidney Disease and Dialysis

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Of all diseases affecting the kidneys, the most devastating is kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than half a million people in the U.S. have ESRD. The vast majority of people with ESRD are dialysis patients. Dialysis typically is needed when ESRD patients lose 85 to 90 percent of their kidney function.

During dialysis, blood is circulated through a dialysis machine that works in place of the kidneys by removing waste, salt and excess water from the body while helping keep a safe level of certain chemicals such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate in the blood. Dialysis also helps control blood pressure.

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