Cleaning your blood

Hemodialysis - The process and time commitment

What is hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis does the work for your kidneys.

It is a process in which blood is removed from your body, cleansed through a dialyzer and then put back into your body.

How much time does this take?

Hemodialysis takes 4 hours at a time and is done 3 times a week.

Why is this important to your health?

Safety Considerations for Dialysis

What can you do? You can start by watching your diet. This is a critical part of the dialysis process.

Diet management is the most important responsibilities as a kidney patient.

Foods containing high amounts of sodium, phosphorus and potassium are restricted.


1) Limit Potassium-It builds up in your blood between treatments and it can cause muscle weakness and make your heart stop beating.

2) Limit Phosphorus-hemodialyis has a hard time filtering this mineral. It can build to high levels in the bloodstream and cause weak bones, heart problems, joint pain or skin ulcers.

3) Restrict your fluids-Because your kidneys no longer work, your body will hold onto extra water. It is important to remember "all" liquids count. These include but are not limited to water you take with your medicine, ice chips, jello, soup, coffee, alcohol.

4) Measure your salt-Sodium must be limited to help control thirst and blood pressure. Additional salt can make you hold on to water that could put a strain on your lungs and heart. Caution: Do not use salt substitutes. They are made with potassium and could raise your potassium level.

5) Eat a high protein diet-Without protein, our bodies would be unable to heal from injury, stop bleeding or fight infection.


Talk to your dietitian regarding types of foods for each category


**Smoking could contribute to your kidney damage. Take steps to stop smoking. (http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/)

Patient Resources: National Kidney Foundation

"Our Patient Information Help Line, NKF Cares, offers support for people affected by kidney disease, organ donation or transplantation. It's designed just for patients, family members and caregivers. Speak with a trained professional who will answer your questions and listen to your concerns. We speak Spanish, too (Hablamos Español). NKF Cares is available Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern Time.

Call toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273) or email nkfcares@kidney.org."