Dialysis: Lifespan, Treatment Duration, and Quality of Life

Understanding Dialysis: Lifespan, Treatment Duration, and Quality of Life


Dialysis is a process that helps remove waste and extra chemicals from the blood using an artificial kidney called a hemodialyzer. It is necessary for people whose kidneys are not functioning properly or are unable to clean the blood effectively.


However, some people may need to undergo dialysis two to three times a week because the toxin levels in their body become too high. In this blog, we will address the question of how long a person can live on dialysis and explore ways to improve their life while on dialysis. Additionally, we will discuss the impact of stopping dialysis on a patient’s life.


How Long Can You Live on Dialysis? 

The answer depends on various factors such as the extent of kidney damage, treatment plans, and individual health conditions. While some patients may need to undergo dialysis for the rest of their lives, others may choose to pursue a kidney transplant as an alternative option.


On average, the life expectancy of a person on dialysis ranges from 5 to 10 years. However, it’s important to note that some patients can live well on dialysis for 20 to 30 years or even longer. Taking proper care of patients undergoing dialysis is crucial in order to maximize their life expectancy.


Regular medical check-ups, following prescribed treatment regimens, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and adhering to dietary guidelines are some measures that can contribute to a better quality of life and potentially increase the lifespan of dialysis patients.


How Long Will Dialysis Treatments Last?

The duration of dialysis treatments can vary depending on several factors, including:


  1. Kidney functionality: The extent of kidney failure affects the treatment approach and duration. Whether there is complete failure or partial functionality determines the specific dialysis regimen.


  1. Fluid weight gain: The time gap between dialysis sessions can impact fluid retention in the body. If the interval between treatments is too long, patients may experience swelling in their legs and arms.


  1. Waste accumulation: The amount of waste generated and stored in the body affects the frequency and duration of dialysis treatments.


  1. Body size: The size of the patient’s body can influence the dialysis process and treatment duration.


  1. Dialysis machine type: The specific type of dialysis machine used can impact the duration of the procedure. Some machines, like high flux dialysis, may require less time.


Typically, each dialysis session lasts approximately 4 hours and is conducted three times a week. However, high flux dialysis is a different dialysis technique that can be completed in less time.


Impact of Dialysis on Patients’ Lives

Dialysis treatments can have a significant impact on the lives of patients, offering them improved well-being and addressing various kidney-related issues. Many patients experience positive changes after their initial dialysis session. However, it’s important to acknowledge that patients and their families may require additional care and support throughout their dialysis journey, especially until they recover or find a suitable kidney transplant donor.


Prolonging Life with Dialysis: Tips and Considerations

If you’re undergoing dialysis, you can take certain steps to enhance your longevity and quality of life. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:


  1. Diet: Follow a specific diet recommended for dialysis patients, which may vary based on your treatment, the severity of your condition, and the duration of the problem. Limit your fluid intake and adhere to dietary guidelines.


  1. Travel: Dialysis centers are available worldwide, making it possible for patients to travel. Dialysis treatment is standardized, and appointments can be easily scheduled at different centers.


  1. Work: Many patients can return to work and engage in physical labor or make job adjustments based on their health condition and the need for rest.


  1. Expenses: Dialysis can be costly, so having health insurance to cover medical expenses is important.


  1. Life expectancy: Dialysis may be required for the rest of your life, unless a kidney transplant becomes an option. By diligently following your treatment plan, the average life expectancy on dialysis ranges from 5 to 10 years, with potential for a 20 to 30-year increase in overall life expectancy.


  1. Communication: Inform healthcare staff about your specific needs and the importance of your dialysis treatment.


By considering these factors and actively managing your health, you can maximize the benefits of dialysis and improve your long-term outlook.


The Consequences of Stopping Dialysis: Understanding the Risks

When dialysis is discontinued, several complications can arise, potentially leading to serious consequences. Without regular dialysis sessions, the following outcomes may occur:


  1. Toxin buildup: The blood can accumulate high levels of toxins, resulting in a condition called uremia. This can have detrimental effects on the body and may ultimately lead to death.


  1. Physical and emotional changes: As toxins accumulate, patients may experience physical and emotional changes. These can manifest in various ways, including:


  • Loss of appetite and fluid overload
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Restlessness
  • Unchanged vision
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Changes in breathing patterns and congestion, affecting skin color and temperature
  • Patients considering the discontinuation of dialysis should be aware that consuming large amounts of food or fluids is generally not recommended. Instead, medications may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort, anxiety, or agitation that may arise during the process.


It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals and consider the potential risks and implications before making any decisions regarding dialysis treatment. Open communication with medical experts can help individuals navigate this challenging situation



For individuals facing kidney problems, dialysis often becomes the only viable option in the absence of a suitable kidney donor for transplantation. Given the limited availability of donors, many patients rely on dialysis to sustain their lives. Dialysis acts as an artificial kidney, effectively removing toxins from the body. Typically, dialysis sessions are conducted two to three times a week to ensure thorough toxin removal. This life-saving treatment can significantly extend a person’s lifespan, offering them an additional 20-30 years of improved quality of life. Dialysis serves as a crucial lifeline for those in need.

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