LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) "It was a little late for me. I knew there were things wrong with me but I didn't know," says Martha Warren.
Warren is living with End Stage Renal Disease, the loss of kidney function. Without the vital organ that keeps her body healthy, her survival depends on a regular treatment known as dialysis.
"People don't understand what it is. When you say you're on dialysis, people just think you're gone because that's the last straw. They just don't think it will last longer," says Warren.
For over a year, Warren made the 50-mile trip to a dialysis center three days a week, where a machine cleansed her bodies blood, a job her kidney's could no longer do on their own.
Today, she stays home for treatment. With the help of her husband and a small machine known as the NxStage System One, Warren says she is healthier and happier.
"It's easier at home, but you're not tied there so it's been very convenient for us. You live longer and better," says Warren.
Karen Ryals is the Executive Director of the American Association of Kidney Patients.
"It's the name itself that probably the biggest problem because we talk about "End-State Renal Disease" and a lot of people think that means the end of life. What that really means is the end stage of the kidney being able to function," says Ryals.
Ryals says with new technology, kidney patients like Warren have a lot to look forward to.
"Right now, with all the excitement going on in the medical world with artificial kidneys and regenerative medicines, I think with medicines there is going to be a lot of changes and a lot of hope for the patients coming up in the future," says Ryals.
Warren says with her new form of treatment, the future looks much brighter.
"It's just a very good way to live, I think, It's just a very good way to live," says Warren.
According to the American Association of Kidney Patients, there are about one million people living with End-Stage Renal Disease worldwide. More than half of those individuals live in the United States.