What Dialysis Patients Should Know about COVID-19
The Illinois Kidney Care Alliance (IKCA) is a coalition of organizations, community groups and advocates, health professionals, and businesses from across Illinois coming together to ensure dialysis patients’ needs come first.
Currently, more than 785,000 Americans suffer from kidney failure. Of these, about 70 percent are on dialysis, while the rest are able to survive with a functioning kidney transplant. The incidence rate of kidney failure is expected to rise in the U.S. over the next decade – and is higher among African Americans, Latinos and people of color than among whites.
The Illinois Kidney Care Alliance (IKCA) brings together diverse voices from across Illinois. Our partners include a wide range of community groups and advocates, health professionals and businesses, all with the goal of ensuring the needs of people with kidney disease are met.
Kidney failure devastates people emotionally and financially as well as physically. Those with kidney failure have only two options for survival: dialysis treatment (often 3x a week) or a kidney transplant. These patients suffer from symptoms that can include fluid retention, swelling, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, nausea, and weakness.
Dialysis can take place at home or at a dialysis center – and access to insurance options can reduce financial stress. Many patients are too sick to work, and with dialysis sessions taking four hours each three times a week, it’s tantamount to having a part-time job.
A patient’s path to receiving dialysis or a kidney transplant is complicated and can be a long and stressful journey. Although a transplant may be the best option, many patients begin with dialysis because it is the most immediate care available.
People with kidney failure and other severe chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.