Kidney failure comes with a host of challenges that are very specific. One of these is the issue of fluid intake. In most cases with other illnesses, doctors recommend that patients stay hydrated as much as possible. With kidney failure, specifically in end stage renal disease, the opposite is true and patient have to avoid excess fluid intake. This can be a tough issue to balance.
Why fluid restrictions?
One of the main functions of the kidneys is to flush out excess fluid, as well as waste and other byproducts. When they are not functioning properly, they are unable to flush out the excess fluid, which can lead to a host of very uncomfortable and potentially very dangerous side effects.
Typically fluid restrictions are given in the later stages of kidney disease, such as in the case of end stage renal failure. Especially if you are on dialysis, you will likely be given strict fluid restrictions. This is all to help keep you safe and comfortable.
Rules of Hydration
Doctor's Orders: First of all, it is imperative that you follow your doctor's orders first and foremost. Your doctor is familiar with your specific case and will let you know when or if you need to follow any restrictions. If you are concerned about your fluid intake or your given restrictions, you should have a discussion with your doctor. No information that you get from a book or the internet can replace your own doctor's advice.
Fluids In Foods: If you are under strict fluid restrictions, you also need to be wary of fluids that are found in foods. After all, the water content of some foods, such as grapes and other fruit, can be significant.
Sodium Intake: Sodium is a huge factor when it comes to fluid retention. So make sure that you are being extra vigilant about sodium if you are on a fluid restrictive diet.
There are many beverage options that doctors will ask you to completely avoid, due to many factors. Again, you should always follow your doctor's advice and ask him/her for a list of good hydration options for you.
• Lemonade: Lemonade is generally considered safe for kidney disease patients. The lemon helps to cleanse your kidneys. Make sure to make your own lemonade or choose all natural versions. Kool-Aid type lemonade isn't real and instead adds a bunch of additives and chemicals to your body.
• Cranberry Juice: Cranberries have long been touted for their positive effects on the kidneys. Make sure you are choosing 100% juice and not “juice cocktail”.
• Ice Chips: If you are on very strict fluid restrictions, you may find yourself thirsty but have very few options to do anything about it. Ice chips are a good way to help with dry mouth and help you feel less thirsty.
• Popsicles: Frozen juice popsicles, such as orange or cranberry juice pops, are also a great option for wetting your mouth when it gets too dry.
Hydration is a big issue for people in end stage renal disease. To maintain your best health and comfort, especially during dialysis, it is important to keep up with your fluid restrictions. These tips and techniques should help you manage. For more information on renal disease, click here.