If you have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or really just about any chronic health condition, you know that you need a better diet. A better diet can not only help you feel exponentially better, but it can actually help you slow the progression of many chronic health problems.
Chronic kidney disease especially requires a better diet. This is because the kidneys are responsible for so many functions in your body. When they are not working properly, you want to make their job easier. Otherwise you could find yourself in a lot of pain, not to mention with a worsening condition.
Why does what I eat affect my kidneys?
It is the main function of the kidneys to filter out excess vitamins, minerals, fluids, and waste. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, these materials can build up in your system and cause all sorts of problems.
Here are some examples:
Fluid: While a healthy body needs plenty of fluid to stay healthy, you might notice that there are often fluid restrictions with chronic kidney disease, especially in the later stages. This is because the kidneys are not able to filter and eliminate excess fluid, and a build up of excess fluid can be very dangerous. Fluid build up can cause edema, raised blood pressure, increased stress on the heart, and at it's most extreme, even death.
Sodium: If you are a chronic kidney disease patient, you likely already know all about sodium restrictions. This is because sodium can case fluid retention which leads to more swelling, increased blood pressure, and shortness of breath. The toughest part about sodium restrictions is learning about all of the hidden sodium in foods we eat.
Protein: Protein is another necessary nutrient for a healthy body that has to be managed under a chronic kidney disease diet. Protein causes a bit of a sticky situation. Protein is still needed by the body for healthy function, but protein creates a lot of waste and byproduct that cannot be processed and filtered out by unhealthy kidneys. For this reason, there are usually very specific guidelines for chronic kidney disease patients.
Potassium: Potassium is a nutrient that is found in so many of the foods you eat, and is usually considered to be healthy. Yet again, this is a nutrient that can actually hurt you at very high levels. Usually potassium restrictions are not necessary until the later stages of chronic kidney disease.
Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that your body uses to build strong bones and teeth, but at very high levels it can actually hurt your bones. Many foods that are high in protein, specifically animal proteins like meat and dairy products, are high in phosphorus and for this reason are often on restricted lists.
Every patient, of course, is different. You should speak to your health care provider and nutritionists to know what changes are best to make to your diet for your specific case. It might be that you do not need to limit protein at all, but your potassium levels are high, or the other way around.
Chronic kidney disease certainly requires a better, healthier diet. Speak with your doctor about what changes you can and should start making today so that you can live a healthier, happier, and more comfortable life even with kidney disease. Click here to read my other blogs.