Kidneys in the human body perform several functions, the most important being the removal of wastes and excess water from the blood. Other functions include balancing of chemicals needed for the body, releasing hormones, helping in keeping control of blood pressure and production of red blood cells and production of vitamin D for bone tissue growth. When one of your kidneys are damaged or start to ‘fail’ due to various illnesses or consequent to trauma or injuries, the second one can take over the functions and work well for a long time. But in several cases both kidneys may become partially or totally dysfunctional, especially over time in persons who have diabetes or high blood pressure that is not well controlled. In such cases, use of dialysis is resorted to once the kidneys are not able to do their needed functions. Leading up to dialysis, a person will be advised to follow a kidney failure diet to ensure they are helping their kidneys to not work overly hard but get the nutrients they need.
When Does A Person Start Following A Kidney Failure Diet?
Planning a patient’s meals using a kidney failure diet plan helps to limit the frequency and duration for which the patient has to undergo dialysis, and is preventive in nature. Here, the accumulation of body waste products in the blood stream is controlled and delayed by following a suitable kidney failure diet to keep it under control.
Such special diets, managed by well trained and registered dietitians, are designed to ensure that proper balance of electrolytes, trace minerals, and fluid levels are kept to optimum levels depending on the individual needs of the patient for their kidney failure diet. Major aims of such kidney failure diets include limiting fluids to just the required levels, consumption of low protein foods, restrictions on salt, potassium, phosphorous and other electrolytes and at the same time providing enough calories for healthy living.
Based on the advice of your physician, the dietitian would determine the appropriate kidney diet plan for your needs.
What Are The Restrictions of a Kidney Failure Diet?
A Registered Dietitian will recommend a personalized diet depending on the patient’s medical history, results of examinations and analyses on blood and urine etc. For instance, patients with history of diabetes or weight problems may need less carbohydrates and more fruits, vegetables, breads and whole grain foods for the kidney failure diet. Fat intake should predominantly consist of mono and poly unsaturated fats such as found in canola, olive or sunflower oil, which is all the more critical for kidney patients with complications of higher cholesterol and heart disease risk.
Low protein diets are beneficial before dialysis and may be limited to 8-10 ounces of proteins daily. The exact amounts of food ingredients and their amounts will vary with patient and can managed with the help of your dietitian and your doctors. They will look at your lab values and determine how you are doing and if some of your restrictions can be lifted.
It is possible to purchase a healthy kidney failure diet meal plan done by a Registered Dietitian that follows the national guidelines for your dietary needs. This comes handy especially for those who may find it difficult to manage the recommended diet on their own. Dietary control by using a kidney failure diet meal plan aims at prevention of problems in a scientific and systematic approach.
This can be especially helpful for patients who need help understanding their kidney failure diet from the specialized knowledge of dietitians.
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