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How long can a person survive on dialysis?

I am a 38 year old girl on dialysis. How long can I go on like this? I would like to know so that I can live my life to the fullest during that time.
Dialysis is a difficult medical treatment to endure on such a regular basis. While it is a life preserving necessity, the frequency of therapy is an inconvenience, and the way that it makes you feel is also very difficult to tolerate. While it is impossible to predict how long you will survive given the complexity inherent in every patient, there are things that can either improve or decrease your odds of survival. Younger people obviously survive longer, and have better outcomes in almost all medical conditions associated with dialysis. Those with other medical conditions in addition to dialysis are at an increased risk of an earlier demise. And those who refuse their dialysis are obviously at the most risk. In fact, termination of dialysis accounts for an unfortunately high cause of death for many patient treated with dialysis. For the remainder of patients, it is difficult to determine if the dialysis is the cause of death, or if the other illnesses that dialysis patients often have is the predominating factor. With excellent care and persistence in following through with your dialysis treatments, however, many people will survive for long periods of time on dialysis. Speak to your nephrologist for specifics in your situation.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
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Answers are written by doctors from top institutions:
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Mass General Hospital
  • Beth Israel Medical Center
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