Thank you for visiting the Atanga Kidney Foundation website, your one stop center for info information on kidney disease education, diagnosis and care. We hope the information is useful. Also feel free to comment on what we can do to improve the website but most of all, share this website to your friends and family. A healthy kidney is a healthy body.

Losing Kidney Health


Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)

Kidneys are remarkable organs. Inside them are millions of tiny blood vessels that act as filters. Their job is to remove waste products from the blood. Sometimes this filtering system breaks down. Diabetes can damage the kidneys and cause them to fail. Failing kidneys lose their ability to filter out waste products, resulting to Kidney disease. See more at:

Typical causes of acute (sudden) kidney failure are:
  • Insufficient blood supply to the kidneys
  • Obstructed urine flow
  • Reactions to allergens, toxic substances, or an acute autoimmune attack on the
Typical causes of chronic (gradual) kidney failure are:

What Is Dialysis and When Do I Start?

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from your blood.

If I have kidney disease, will I need dialysis?

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), you do not need dialysis. The stages of chronic kidney disease can last for many years. But if your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to keep you alive.

When should I start dialysis?

National Kidney Foundation guidelines recommend you start dialysis when your kidney function drops to 15% or less — or if you have severe symptoms caused by your kidney disease, such as: shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting. Your doctor will help you decide when to start dialysis, based on results of lab tests that measure how much kidney function you have left and on your symptoms.

Private insurance generally covers treatment for kidney failure whenever your doctor says it is needed. If you don’t have private insurance, you may be able to get coverage through federal or state funded health care programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Most people (about 93% of those who apply) qualify for Medicare when they need dialysis or a transplant, even if they are under age 65. Medicare pays for 80% of treatment costs of kidney disease when kidney function has dropped to 10 – 15%, or when your doctor justifies it.

If you are not having symptoms, you may be able to wait a bit longer before you begin dialysis. However, some doctors believe that starting dialysis as soon as Medicare or insurance covers it is wise, since it can take a long time to recover if you let yourself get very ill. Since chronic kidney failure often happens slowly, sometimes people do not even know how bad they feel, until they start dialysis and begin to feel much better.

It is important to start getting ready for dialysis or a transplant well in advance — when your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Learning about the types of dialysis and transplant options will help you make a choice that is best for you. Any type of dialysis will require surgery — usually outpatient — to allow access for your treatments, and this should be done well in advance to allow time for healing.

Who Pays for Dialysis

Dialysis is paid for with your health insurance and Medicare (even if you are under age 65). If you have an employer group health plan, it will pay first for 30 – 33 months, and Medicare will be secondary (paying some or all of the balance your insurance doesn’t cover). After 30 – 33 months, Medicare pays first and your health plan is secondary.

Ask your dialysis or transplant center to help you figure out what your insurance will pay and how much you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket. You can also call DaVita Guest Services at 1-800-244-0680 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT).

Once I am on dialysis, will my kidneys get better?

The chances that your kidneys will get better depend on what caused your kidney failure. Kidney failure is divided into two general categories, acute and chronic. Acute (or sudden) kidney failure is often temporary. In chronic kidney failure, the kidneys normally do not heal.

In acute kidney failure, when kidneys stop functioning due to a sudden stress, kidney function may recover. But when the damage to your kidneys has been continuous and progressive over a number of years, as it is in chronic kidney disease (CKD), then the kidneys usually do not get better. When CKD has progressed to end stage renal disease (ESRD), it is considered irreversible.

If your chronic kidney disease was not diagnosed until you were at the point of needing dialysis or a transplant, then it may seem sudden to you. However, the gradual injuries to your kidneys that occurred over a number of years caused permanent damage.

If you have acute kidney failure, you may need dialysis for only a few days or weeks while your kidneys recover. If your kidneys are too badly damaged to recover their function, then you will need long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.

If it seems that your kidneys are recovering, talk to your doctor to learn whether it could be true. Tests can be done to determine whether your kidney function has improved.

Is My Blood Getting Cleaned During Dialysis?

Provided by DaVita® Dietitians link

Are you wondering how well your blood is being cleaned during your dialysis treatments? One way to find out is through the urea reduction ratio (URR). If you meet the URR goal after each treatment, you’re on the right track. But if you’re not meeting it, your blood may not be as clean as it could be. Learn more about how to get blood thoroughly clean during dialysis.

Healthy kidneys work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When kidneys stop working, dialysis does this job, but it only does some of the work. It is possible to live a long and healthy life receiving dialysis three times a week by ensuring that your blood is optimally cleaned during each treatment.

The dialysis center uses a test called urea reduction ratio, or URR, to show how well your blood is cleaned during your treatments. Every month you will see your results on your nutrition report. The goal is a score of 65 percent or better on the URR test.

How can I reach a URR of 65 percent?

Getting the right amount of dialysis can help you live a longer and healthier life. Here are some things that you can do to reach a URR of 65 percent:

  • Don’t leave your treatment early or arrive late to your appointment.
  • Try to use the restroom before treatment so you don’t have to stop in the middle of your session.
  • A catheter access may cause your results to be low, because blood flow rate is usually slower with a catheter. If possible, get a fistula or graft instead of a catheter to receive hemodialysis.
  • If your access is not working well, make an appointment to have your access checked.

There are exceptions of course and some causes of a low URR reading can be out of your hands. For instance, if you experience cramping or low blood pressure, your blood flow rate may be decreased. This will result in less cleaning of your blood.

What happens if my blood isn’t cleaned well enough?

If you do not get enough dialysis, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Your skin turns yellow or itches.
  • You have swelling in your feet or legs.
  • It is difficult to sleep.
  • You lose your appetite.
  • You feel short of breath.
  • You feel tired or depressed.
  • Your life can be shortened.


When you stay on your dialysis treatment for the entire time prescribed, you’re more likely to reach the URR goal of 65 percent. The URR test indicates how well your blood is being cleaned during your treatment. Arrive at your treatments on time, get a fistula or graft and be mindful of your fluid intake. Also, work with your kidney healthcare team so they can help you live a longer and healthier life on dialysis.

Related articles on

More Articles in the Basics

The History of Dialysis

The history of dialysis Dr. Willem Kolff is considered the father of dialysis. This young Dutch physician constructed the first dialyzer (artificial kidney) in 1943.

Learn More »

10 Ways to Prepare for Dialysis

It’s good to go in with a game plan when it’s time for dialysis, whether it’s your first treatment day or your 50th. We’ve come up with 10 ways to help you prepare and maintain your quality of life on dialysis.

Learn More »

Nurse Giving Crushed Ice To Patient On Renal Dialysis