If you look at the national statistics for the U.S., they don't look too good. But statistics do not apply to individuals. If you go to one of our other sites--Kidney School™ http://www.kidneyschool.org, you can read about Nancy, whose kidneys failed in 1966 when she was 19 years old. She's still doing terrific today, and is now on her 4th transplant after doing various types of home dialysis. People can and do live for decades with kidney failure--but it doesn't happen by accident.
How long you or someone you love will survive with kidney failure depends on a lot of factors, including:
-- How old you are when your kidneys fail (the younger you are, the longer you are likely to live)
-- What illness caused your kidney failure, and how your health is otherwise (people with many other serious illnesses are unlikely to live as long as people who are pretty healthy other than kidney failure)
-- How well you take care of yourself (people who take an active role in their care and follow their treatment plans tend to do better and live longer than people who don't)
-- How good your medical and dialysis care are
The latter is one of the reasons we started this site: we believe, based on all of the research that has been done to date--but most importantly based on how patients tell us they feel--that the more physiologic (like the human body) dialysis treatment is, the better patients will feel and the longer they will live. So, treatments that are done every day--like PD, or nearly every day--like short daily home hemo, or, even better, treatments that are longer--like nocturnal home hemo (done as many days per week as possible) will support a full, active, productive life much longer than three times per week in-center hemo, with fewer long-term complications.
None of us gets out of here alive. Please don't spend your time worrying about how you or your loved one may die sooner because of kidney failure--any of us could encounter an accident tomorrow. Instead, why not focus your energy on how to live as long and as well as possible with kidney disease? You just might surprise yourself.