People with kidney failure often undergo a process called dialysis, which artificially performs the important functions of the kidneys. During dialysis, machines filter waste out of the blood, allowing you to continue functioning normally. If your doctor recommends dialysis, it's important that you find a dialysis center that you will want to go to on a regular basis, with each session lasting three to five hours. Schedule Regular Appointments Once you locate dialysis centers in your area, you need to schedule your appointments at one or more centers. You don't have to go to the same one every time, so if your schedule makes one center more convenient than another on some days of the week, you can alternate between them. Your doctor will have told you how frequently you need to have dialysis treatment, and it's your responsibility to make appointments according to that schedule. Most patients will go to dialysis treatments three times per week. Prepare for and Attend Appointments Your dialysis appointments will take up a large part of your time, so you'll want to make sure you're comfortable during your appointments. You want to wear comfortable clothing that won't make you feel pinched while you're sitting. You may feel cold during dialysis because your blood circulates outside of your body to the dialysis machine, so you will probably also want to wear something that will help keep you warm. Lastly, bring something to do while you sit, whether it's reading material, supplies to write letters, or knitting equipment. Plan Dialysis During Travel You can travel when you are undergoing dialysis treatments, but you will need to locate dialysis centers along each stage of your trip. Because the process is so standardized, you can make an appointment at a center just once when you're passing through an area. However, you'll want to plan all of your appointments well in advance so you can be sure you'll have the life-sustaining treatment you need at each location you travel to. Dialysis centers can be busy, and you don't want to assume that they'll have open slots in their schedule. Follow Dietary Recommendations You may need to change your diet during dialysis to make the process go more smoothly. After you find a dialysis center and attend an appointment, keep in close contact with your medical care providers to learn if you need to be modifying your diet. They may recommend limiting fluids and salt to help keep your body from holding on to unnecessary water.
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