A Dialysis Diet Is Critical To Your Success
Dialysis is a procedure which removes metabolic waste products from the body and provides an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with renal failure. Renal failure is a medical condition in which the kidneys lose their normal functionality to filter and excrete toxins from the body. Kidneys help to filter toxins from the blood, control fluid levels and regulate levels of sodium, potassium and phosphorous. In patients with renal failure, dialysis can help the body by performing these functions. Normally, kidneys filter the blood continuously, but dialysis is done on a schedule. Because of this, it is important for patients to follow a dialysis diet between dialysis treatments, because if not followed waste products can build up to toxic levels. Dialysis patients have very specific dietary needs which can vary after each dialysis. Therefore, patients are advised to follow a dialysis diet and consult with a registered dietitian. They can purchase a pre-done online meal plan and grocery list created by a registered dietitian to further assist them with planning a dialysis diet.
What Nutrients Does A Dialysis Diet Control?
The dialysis diet regulates the amount of daily consumption of protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorous and fluids. Dialysis patients are advised to consume diet which is high in protein and low in sodium, potassium and phosphorous. And, patients are also advised to restrict fluid intake between treatments on a dialysis diet.
A Dialysis Diet Needs to Follow Certain Guidelines
It is important to eat right amount of protein, because more protein intake builds up waste products in the blood and less consumption may cause protein deficiency and muscle loss. Patients on peritoneal dialysis need more protein because a large amount of protein is lost in the discarded peritoneal fluid. Generally, patients are advised to eat more high-quality protein. Good sources of high quality protein include egg, poultry, lamb, beef, pork and fish.
Patients should restrict sodium intake on a dialysis diet because extra sodium can result in fluid retention and high blood pressure. Sodium is abundant in table salt, canned and processed foods. Patients are advised to limit processed cheese, packed chips, smoked meat, pickles and soups.
The daily intake of potassium needs to be controlled to prevent high potassium levels in the blood [Hyperkalemia], which is common in dialysis patients. High potassium levels in the blood can cause problems with heart functioning and can lead to life threatening condition called cardiac arrhythmia. Potassium is found in many fruits and vegetables, it is an essential mineral for proper muscle functioning and heart rhythm. To keep potassium levels in check, patients should limit the amount of potassium rich foods such as milk, yogurt, potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, bananas, dry fruits, legumes, nuts and beans.
Dialysis treatments may not remove phosphorous effectively from the blood, so dietary intake of phosphorous should be restricted. High phosphorous levels in the blood can draw calcium out of the bones, causing weakness of bones. Phosphorus is found in protein-rich foods such as dairy products, meat, legumes, nuts and beverages like cocoa, sodas and beer.
Dialysis helps to regulate fluid levels, but between the treatments fluid intake should be monitored. Excessive fluid intake can result in fluid retention which can lead to high blood pressure and edema. Fluid intake can be monitored by checking patient’s weight regularly and comparing it with their dry weight. Dry weight is patient’s weight immediately after dialysis. Any food that is liquid at room temperature contains water which includes soup, jello, and ice cream. Many fruits and vegetables contain lots of water such as melons, grapes, apples, oranges and lettuce. Consumption of all these foods should be monitored because they add to fluid intake.
You may be confused with all of the information about a dialysis diet, but the easiest thing to do is to pick up an online meal plan that is created by a registered dietitian and follows the guidelines for a dialysis diet to keep you on track.
Also published on Medium.