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A1C level
Average blood glucose level for the past two to three months
ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme)
A type of drug used for blood pressure control.
Acute Renal Failure (ARF)
Sudden onset of renal failure that often occurs because of an accident or illness. ARF may lead to permanent loss of kidney function, but if the kidneys are not seriously damaged, ARF may be reversed.
Blood low in red blood cells. Anemia may cause fatigue, shortness of breath and paleness.
Medicines created using microbes or fungi that are weakened and taken into the body to destroy harmful bacteria.
ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker)
A type of drug used for blood pressure control.
Arteriovenous fistula (AV fistula)
A type of dialysis access created by joining an artery and vein usually in the forearm. It is considered the best type of access for hemodialysis.
Arteriovenous graft (AV graft)
A type of dialysis access that uses a synthetic tube implanted under the skin in your arm. Grafts tend to have more problems with clotting or infection and generally will need replacement.


Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
A type of blood test that measures the amount of urea nitrogen (a waste product) in the blood. 


A form of vitamin D produced by the kidneys that helps the body absorb dietary calcium into the blood and bones.
A mineral that builds and strengthens bones. Calcium is found in many foods including milk and other dairy products.
Calories provide energy for your body. At your doctor’s recommendation, you may need to cut down or increase the calories you eat.
Care planning
Care planning involves both the patient and healthcare team and is used to develop a plan of action that leads to improved patient well-being.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
A form of kidney disease that occurs over time when the kidneys do not remove toxins, waste products, and fluids from the body properly. CKD can be managed to slow the progression of the disease.
Clinical trial
Clinical trials, also known as research studies, are conducted to test the safety and effectiveness of new medications and treatments or to develop new uses for existing medications and treatments.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A laboratory test performed on a sample of blood that measures the number of red blood cells, number of white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and size of the red blood cells.
Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)
A type of peritoneal dialysis where the patient performs the exchanges.
Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD)
A type of peritoneal dialysis where a cycler machine performs the exchanges usually as the patient sleeps.
A waste product resulting from the natural breakdown of muscle tissue.
Creatinine Clearance
A urine and blood test that shows how well the kidneys are filtering creatinine from the blood. 


Diabetes is diagnosed when there are high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is the most common cause of kidney disease in the United States, accounting for more than 45 percent of new cases.
Diabetic nephropathy
Occurs when the nephrons have been damaged from unused glucose.
A solution mixed with ultra pure water which is used during dialysis to remove toxins from the body.
The process of removing wastes and excess fluids from the body when the kidneys have failed. There are two types of dialysis; peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis.
Dialysis access
A dialysis access is a pathway to a patient’s bloodstream or peritoneal cavity that allows dialysis to occur. There are several types of accesses including a peritoneal catheter for peritoneal dialysis, an arteriovenous (AV) fistula, arteriovenous (AV) graft, or a venous catheter for hemodialysis.
Dialysis access monitoring
Tests performed during a dialysis treatment to assess how well a dialysis access is working by monitoring blood flow and detecting clots.
Dialyzer (also known as an artificial kidney)
A hard plastic cylinder used in hemodialysis that contains thousands of very slender hollow fibers that blood passes through. The walls of the fibers have microscopic pores that allow substances to pass out of the blood. The blood can not pass through, however. On the outside of the fibers, the solution made by the dialysis machine passes through and carries away the unwanted substances.
The bottom number of a blood pressure reading that refers to the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
A person who specializes in food and nutrition. A dietitian can help patients make healthy food choices and modify their diet to improve their specific health condition.
DOQI (Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative)
Evidenced-based clinical practice guidelines and recommendations for delivering dialysis care. 


Electronic medical record (EMR)
An electronic version of a patient’s medical record that allows for easy access to patient data and information.
End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
An irreversible decline in kidney function which is severe enough to be fatal without dialysis or transplantation.
Erythropoietin (EPO)
A hormone which stimulates the bone marrow to produce the proper number of red blood cells needed to carry oxygen to vital organs. Diseased kidneys don’t make enough EPO which may lead to anemia. A genetically engineered form of EPO may be given to manage anemia. 


Facility administrator
A person whose primary responsibilities include ensuring the overall operation of a dialysis facility including clinical performance (how well care is delivered); maintaining a safe environment; hiring, training and managing staff; ensuring compliance with federal, state and other regulations, and overseeing the budget.
Provides energy and helps produce hormone-like substances that regulate blood pressure and other heart functions, and carries fat-soluble vitamins.
Ferritin level
The amount of iron stored in your body. According to DOQI guidelines, your ferritin score should be no less than 100 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) and not exceed 800 mcg/L.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Government body that develops guidelines for clinical trials and either grants or denies the approval of new medications or treatments. 


Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
Considered the best indicator of how well the kidneys are working. GFR is a calculation based on s serum creatinine, age, gender, and race that determines stage of kidney disease and necessary clinical action.
A filter inside the nephrons.
A simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body. 


Hematocrit (Hct)
The percentage of the blood that consists of red blood cells.
Replaces lost kidney function through a process that filters your blood. Hemodialysis catheter (also referred to as a venous catheter) A tube inserted into a vein in the neck, chest, or leg near the groin, for access to a patient’s blood for hemodialysis to occur. They are considered a temporary access, have a high infection rate, and clog easily.
Hemoglobin (Hgb)
The component of red blood cells that carry oxygen.
Hepatitis B
A viral infection that can be transmitted by blood or other body fluids. 


A hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose enter cells in the body.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
A panel that ensure patients’ rights are fully protected and that they are not exposed to any unnecessary risks during clinical trials.
Interventional nephrologists
Kidney doctors who specialize in dialysis accesses.
A physician who oversees and supervises a clinical trial.
Aids in making red blood cells. 


KDOQI(tm) (Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative)
Evidenced-based clinical practice guidelines and recommendations for all stages of chronic kidney diseases and related complications.
Bean-shaped organs located near the middle of the back and protected by the lower part of the rib cage. They filter and purify the blood.
Kidney transplant
Kidney transplantation is an operation that places a healthy kidney into the body. It’s not a cure, but a treatment that is supported by daily medications and physician follow-up. 


Monounsaturated fat
A healthy alternative to animal fats. Monounsaturated fat is found in olive, peanut, and canola oils. 


A physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating kidney disease.
The branch of medicine concerned with the kidneys and their function.
Functional unit of the kidney that removes wastes and excess substances from the blood to produce urine. Each kidney is made up of approximately one million nephrons.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
A nurse with a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing who can diagnose, manage, and treat acute and chronic illnesses. 


Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
A hormone that regulates calcium and phosphorous in the body.
Peritoneal cavity
The space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, stomach, and liver.
Peritoneal dialysis
A type of dialysis that occurs inside the body and uses the body’s peritoneal membrane (the lining of the abdomen) as the filter.
Peritoneal dialysis catheter
A soft tube that carries dialysis solution into and out of the abdomen.
A mineral that helps regulate calcium levels in the bones.
An inactive product that is used to compare the results of the actual medication or treatment being tested in a clinical trial.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
A genetic disorder in which many cysts grow in the kidneys and may slowly replace much of the mass of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and leading to kidney failure.
A mineral that assists with muscle contraction and electrolyte and fluid balance in body cells.
Helps build muscle and repair tissue.
Protein in the urine which usually means that the kidneys’ filters are leaky – a sign of kidney damage. 


Of or pertaining to the kidneys.
Renal biopsy
A procedure in which a doctor uses a needle to take a tiny piece of the kidney for examination under a microscope.
Renal imaging
An ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI imaging test that lets a doctor see the kidneys and may show possible reasons for decreased kidney function such as an unusual growth or blockage.
Renal osteodystrophy
A bone disease that occurs when the kidneys fail to maintain the proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
Renal ultrasound
A test that uses sound waves to study the renal system.
The use of the same dialyzer on the same patient over many dialysis treatments. 


Saturated fat
Unhealthy fat that can raise blood cholesterol levels and cause clogging of blood vessels. Saturated fats are found in animal products like red meat, poultry, whole milk, and butter.
Serum creatinine
A blood test that measures the amount of creatinine in the blood. A high creatinine level may mean that the kidneys are not working properly.
Social worker
A professional trained to talk with people and their families about emotional or physical needs, and to find them support services.
Sodium is found in salt and other foods.
The top number of a blood pressure reading that refers to the pressure in the arteries during the contraction of the heart. 


Most often the person who performs and administers a hemodialysis treatment.
TSAT (Transferrin saturation)
A test score that indicates how much iron is available to make red blood cells.
Small structures in the kidney that filter the blood and produce the urine.
Type 1 diabetes
A type of diabetes where the body stops producing insulin. It tends to occur in young adults and is more likely to lead to kidney failure.
Type 2 diabetes
A type of diabetes where the body generally becomes insulin resistant or the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. It tends to occur in people over the age of forty. 


Ultra pure water
Water used in dialysis that has gone through a purification process to ensure there are no harmful chemicals or bacteria in the water.
Excess water and wastes filtered by the kidneys which collect in the bladder. 


Vascular access
A pathway to a patient’s bloodstream that allows hemodialysis to occur. Vascular accesses include fistulas and grafts.