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The area of your body that includes your stomach.

A term that refers to how well your dialysis is working. To measure adequacy, tests are carried out to see if enough fluid and waste products are being removed from your blood.

Alport’s syndrome:
An inherited condition that results in kidney disease. Alport’s syndrome usually develops during early childhood. The condition can lead to kidney failure and to hearing and vision problems. Common symptoms include blood and protein in the urine.

A condition that occurs when there are too few red blood cells in the blood. Red blood cells bring oxygen to cells in the body. A person who has anemia usually feels weak and tired all the time.

Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.

Stands for “automated peritoneal dialysis.” APD patients use a machine at home to perform fluid exchanges. Inside the body, the peritoneal membrane acts like a filter to clean the blood.

Means that an organ or tissue did not develop correctly, or is congenitally absent.

An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.

autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD):
A genetic disease that is inherited in a random fashion. In recessive disorders such as ARPKD, the baby must inherit a copy of the disease gene from each parent in order to be affected. ARPKD affects one in 10,000 to one in 40,000 babies.

An organ that holds the urine excreted by the kidneys.

blood glucose:
Glucose is a kind of sugar. A blood test can show the level of blood glucose. Some people who have diabetes need medication to help control their blood glucose. Others may be controlled with just diet.

blood pressure:
The pressure of the blood against the inner walls of the blood vessels. Blood pressure varies with health, age, and stress levels.

A mineral found in bones, teeth, and body tissues. Calcium strengthens the bones.

A calorie is a unit of heat content or energy.

Stands for “continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis.” With CAPD, dialysis continues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Patients are not attached to a machine. Dialysis happens inside the body, using the peritoneal membrane as a filter.

A medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the heart.

A slender tube inserted into a body passage or blood vessel for passing or removing fluids.

Stands for “continuous cycling (cyclic) peritoneal dialysis.” Dialysis happens inside the body, using the peritoneal membrane as a filter. A machine performs the peritoneal dialysis solution exchanges in regular cycles. Also generally known as Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD).

Substances used in or found by a chemical process.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. The chemotherapy drugs attack and kill the fast-growing cancer cells.

A flat, slender bone joining the breast bone to the shoulder blade.

complete kidney failure:
Less than 10% of kidney function.

Means “existing at birth.”

Creatinine is a by-product of muscle activity.

A machine that performs peritoneal dialysis solution exchanges in regular cycles.

Small sacs that form in the body that contain gas, fluids, or partly solid material. Cysts are not normal; the body does not need them to function.

A type of infection that causes inflammation of the bladder.

A disease that causes a high blood glucose (blood sugar) level. Diabetes can cause kidney disease.

Dialysis solution.

A way to partially replace the work of the kidneys. With dialysis, the blood is cleaned either by using a special solution and the tissues within the body (peritoneal dialysis) or with an artificial kidney machine (hemodialysis).

dialysis center:
The dialysis center is the place where a team of healthcare professionals treat someone with kidney disease who needs dialysis.

dialysis nurse:
If you are on dialysis, you may become closest to your dialysis nurse. He or she specializes in dialysis treatment. Your dialysis nurse can teach you about the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of dialysis. Dialysis nurses also help train people to do dialysis themselves.

dialysis solution:
A cleansing liquid used in the two major forms of dialysis–hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis solution contains dextrose (a sugar) and other chemicals similar to those in the body. Dextrose draws wastes and extra fluid from the body into the dialysis solution.

dialysis specialists:
Nurses and other healthcare professionals who manage dialysis procedures and/or instruct patients how to manage their own dialysis.

A membrane device that separates waste substances from the blood of kidney failure patients.

Someone trained in nutrition and diet planning.

Means “having abnormal tissue development.”

A medical doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the endocrine glands, including the pancreas.

Stands for EPOGEN® (epoetin alfa), a drug used to stimulate red blood cell production.

A type of protein produced in the kidney. Erythropoietin stimulates red blood cell production.

Stands for “end-stage renal disease,” which means “kidney failure,” which requires dialysis or kidney transplant to live.

A type of access for dialysis. The access is where the needles are placed to remove blood from the body and return it to the body after it is filtered by the dialysis machine. A fistula access is created surgically by connecting an artery to a vein to strengthen the vein in the forearm, or sometimes the leg.

fluid allowance:
The amount of fluid a dialysis patient is allowed to drink each day.

focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS):
A type of glomerulonephritis that results from scarring in parts of the glomerulus (the filter of the kidney).

Blood vessels in the kidney where blood is filtered to form urine.

A type of nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) that affects the glomerulus.

“To graft” means to join one thing to another; in kidney disease, usually refers to an artificial tube used to join an artery and vein for hemodialysis access or a kidney from another person in a kidney transplant.

growth hormone:
Growth hormone is made in the body and helps kids grow. It’s activity can be less than normal in someone with kidney disease. It can also be given as a medication.

The substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.

The word hemo means blood. During hemodialysis treatment blood is pumped outside the body through a dialyzer that acts like an artificial kidney. This device removes the extra fluids and wastes and returns the clean blood to the body.

hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS):
A rare condition affecting mostly children under the age of 10. It is characterized by destruction of red blood cells, damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, and, in severe cases, kidney failure. Most cases of HUS occur after an infection in the digestive system caused by bacteria-contaminated food like meat, dairy products, and juice. The first stages of HUS frequently present with gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

A disease, trait, or condition that is passed on in a family (blood relatives).

Substances formed in an organ of the body and carried by body fluid to another organ or tissue, where it has a specific effect.

High blood pressure

Describes drugs that inactivate the body’s natural defenses against something foreign. Immunosuppressive drugs “suppress” the body from attacking a kidney transplant.

When someone cannot take part in sexual intercourse because he cannot have an erection.

A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats disorders of internal organs.

interstitial nephritis:
Interstitial refers to the spaces within a tissue or organ. Interstitial nephritis is a disorder in which there is inflammation within the kidney, not directly affecting the glomerulus.

kidney stones:
Minerals, like calcium, sometimes form stones in the kidneys.

kidney transplant:
A kidney transplant is an operation performed by a transplant surgeon in which a healthy kidney from another person is placed into your body.

Light Chain Disease:
A rare disease, not specifically of the kidneys. However, light chain can cause excess blood proteins to form and eventually clog the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.

local anesthetic:
Medication that helps a patient lose their sense of pain. A local anesthetic is applied to a specific area of the body, and the patient does not lose consciousness.

A chronic disease of unknown cause. It can affect skin, connective tissue under the skin, blood vessels, and other organs, and may eventually damage the kidneys.

A thin sheet or layer of tissue that lines a cavity or separates two parts of the body. A membrane can act as a filter, allowing some particles to pass from one part of the body to another while keeping others where they are. The membrane in a dialyzer filters waste products from the blood.

mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis:
A form of glomerulonephritis. Signs of this condition are swelling of the glomerulus, which is located inside the kidney, and blood in the urine. It is a rare disorder, affecting 3 out of 10,000 people. It can affect both adults and children.

An inorganic substance occurring naturally in the earth and is neither vegetable nor animal.

nephrogenic diabetes insipidus:
A condition in which the kidney tubules have difficulty reabsorbing fluids. The condition can result in extreme thirst and excessive urination.

A doctor who is trained in internal medicine and specializes in kidney disease.

The small unit in the kidney, made up of small blood vessels (glomeruli) and tubules which produce urine.

nephrotic syndrome:
Nephrotic syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms including protein in the urine, low blood protein, and swelling. Nephrotic syndrome is caused by disorders that result in some type of damage to the kidney glomerulus, leading to abnormal loss of protein in the urine.

Anything nutritious; nutrients have value as food.

Nutrition is the study of human food and liquid requirements for normal function.

obstructive uropathy:
A blockage, which may be caused by kidney stones or a birth defect of the kidney or ureter. The blockage is any condition where urine cannot flow out of the kidney. The blockage makes it difficult for the kidneys to remove wastes and extra fluids.

A colorless, odorless, tasteless chemical element. Oxygen is essential for life processes.

A part made of specialized tissues that performs a specific function in the body. For example, your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys are all organs.

pediatric kidney disease:
Kidney disease that affects infants and children, and teenagers up to about 21 years of age.

pediatric nephrologist:
A nephrologist (neff-ROL-o-jist) is a medical doctor who specializes in disorders of the kidneys. A pediatric nephrologist has extensive training in general pediatrics and in helping children with kidney disease and kidney failure. He or she knows all about dialysis and transplant, and will supervise your treatment.

percent of kidney function:
Blood and urine tests reveal how well the kidneys are working, so the physician can determine the percent of kidney function.

peritoneal cavity:
The peritoneum is a membrane that lines the abdomen. The peritoneal cavity is the space contained by this membrane.

peritoneal dialysis (PD):
PD partially replaces the kidney’s work of cleaning the blood by using a natural filter, a membrane inside your body called the peritoneal membrane. The process of doing PD is called an exchange. A patient using PD generally completes 3 to 5 exchanges every day. Blood never leaves the body during PD. Dialysis fluid enters your peritoneal cavity, extra fluid and waste travels across the peritoneal membrane into the dialysis fluid, and after a few hours, the dialysis fluid is drained.

peritoneal membrane:
The lining of the abdomen.

Inflammation of the peritoneal membrane, usually caused by infection.

Phosphorus is an element contained in many foods and is normally filtered by the kidney. When kidneys begin to fail, phosphorus remains in the body and can damage the bones.

polycystic disease:
“Polycystic” means many cysts. Cysts are small sacs that form in the kidney that contain urine. Cysts are not normal; the body does not need them to function. They are not dangerous unless there are many cysts.

posterior urethral valves:
A type of obstructive uropathy (urine is blocked from flowing out of the kidney.)

A mineral that helps muscles and nerves work the right way. Healthy kidneys get rid of any extra potassium that your body doesn’t need from food you have eaten. Damaged kidneys may not be able to get rid of enough potassium.

Proteins are what keep your body tissue healthy and replace old or damaged tissue. Each day, protein must be included in the diet for you to stay healthy. There are two kinds of protein found in foods:
animal proteins and plant proteins.

Inflammation of the kidney pelvis and the kidney linings, usually caused by bacterial infection.

recombinant human growth hormone (r-HuGH):
A man-made form of growth hormone that is used to treat people who are growing slowly because of a disease. Therapy with r-HuGH is usually given by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection.

red blood cells:
Help carry oxygen through the body.

When the body does not accept a kidney transplanted from another body.

Means “kidney.”

renal artery:
“Renal” means “kidney.” An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. So the renal artery carries blood away from the heart to the kidney.

renal dietitian:
A nutrition expert who has further specialized in the effect of diet on the health of people with kidney disease.

renal unit:
Renal means “kidney.” The renal unit is a place where a team of healthcare professionals help someone with kidney disease. (This definition varies country to country.)

renal vein:
“Renal” means “kidney.” A vein is a blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart. So the renal vein carries blood “cleaned” by the kidney, back to the heart.

residual renal function:
Renal means “kidney.” This term describes the kidney function left after you have started dialysis treatment.

social worker:
Your social worker can help with understanding how to live with a chronic illness, insurance matters, learning about support groups, and dealing with challenges at home, with friends, or in school.


A sudden, severe problem in the nervous system, usually caused either by blood flow to part of the brain being obstructed (blocked) or by bleeding into the brain.

subclavian/subclavian vein:
Means “beneath the clavicle.” The clavicle is the collarbone, a bone in the shoulder. The subclavian vein is the large vein behind the collarbone which is sometimes used for hemodialysis.

Something that is toxic is poisonous. Some of the wastes produced by the body are toxic. They must be removed from the body by the kidneys or by dialysis, or they will poison the body.

transplant surgeon:
A surgeon who specializes in transplanting organs, such as a kidney transplant surgeon.

Found in the urine, urea is the end-product of protein metabolism in the body.

The condition where a person gets sick from wastes building up in the blood. Someone who has uremia may experience nausea, weight loss, high blood pressure, and/or trouble sleeping.

A thick-walled tube that moves the urine from the kidney to the bladder.

urinary tract:
“Urinary” means “related to urine”. Urine is the excess fluid and waste removed from the body by the kidneys. Urine passes along the urinary tract.

The passing of urine out of the body. Urine is the excess fluid and waste removed from the body by the kidneys.

The kidneys filter out excess fluids and wastes, which leave the kidneys as “urine.”

A vein is a blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart.