Understanding a Renal Dialysis Diet
It is important to know that a renal dialysis diet may differ from person to person, depending on the seriousness of the renal failure, and the frequency that dialysis is required. As a general rule, it is best to follow the doctors’ instructions carefully as renal failure is a serious health condition, which can lead to heart failure and even death. If the dietary requirements are followed strictly, there is no reason why the quality of life cannot be as normal as possible once you are on your renal dialysis diet plan.
What Does Salt (Sodium Chloride) Need To Be On A Renal Dialysis Diet
High doses of salt are not recommended for renal dialysis diet patients. Salt tends to make one thirsty, and drinking a lot of water could be harmful to a kidney failure patient if the kidneys are not eliminating, and may lead to more frequent dialysis. Salt substitutes may be as harmful to the patient on a renal dialysis diet, as these substitutes normally contain an unusually high quantity of potassium, which is also harmful. Beware of “hidden salt” found in biscuits, tinned and processed meats, sauces, etc.
Potassium Is Important to A Renal Dialysis Diet
Potassium, found naturally in animal proteins and certain fruits and vegetables, could be harmful to some renal failure patients. When suffering from kidney failure, potassium tends to build up in the system and if the level increases too much, the heart slows and could stop working. Dialysis removes potassium from the system, but it gradually builds up again between each treatment. Limiting potassium rich foods could extend the period between their treatments. Patients undergoing daily dialysis need to be on a low potassium diet as the levels do not have sufficient time to build up.
How Much Protein for a Renal Dialysis Diet?
This is a confusing point for many dialysis patients because prior to starting dialysis the doctors usually recommend a low protein diet. Once dialysis is started, protein wastes are eliminated in the dialysis process and the recommendation changes to a higher protein meal plan for the renal dialysis diet. It is important for dialysis patients to increase their protein intake considerably once on dialysis to prevent them from additionally weakening and reducing their immune system, as well as losing muscle mass. Good quality animal proteins are best. Vegetable proteins such as grains, fruits and vegetables are not well utilized by the body, but should be complementary to the animal proteins. Very sick patients may not be able to eat animal proteins too easily and in this case, a protein powder substitute should be used, but mixed with a reduced amount of water or milk.
How Much Fluid is Allowed on A Renal Dialysis Diet Plan?
If the patient is urinating easily, then fluid restriction is not necessary. Fluid is restricted in patients who pass a minimal amount of urine and who retain fluids. The patient is normally able to judge for himself the amount of fluid he can take, according to the amount of urine he is passing and weight gained between treatments.
Overall, What Should You Do About Staying on a Renal Dialysis Diet Plan?
It must be pointed out that all of the above information is just a general guide and patients should communicate all their doubts and questions to their doctor or dietician and follow professional advice. For a professionally created and planned renal dialysis diet meal plan, check out our options – the work is already done for you!
Also published on Medium.