Fluid restrictions can be one of the most difficult parts of living with chronic kidney disease. Almost daily people are told to stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids, and to drink lots of water. As a general rule, most people are recommended to drink eight glasses of water a day or more. Chronic kidney disease can drastically change these instructions, and in fact can almost completely reverse them.
Why are fluid restrictions necessary?
Excess fluid is a big deal for chronic kidney disease patients. This is because non-functioning kidneys are not able to filter out the extra fluid; it can build up and cause a host of painful and potentially dangerous problems. Excess fluid can cause pain, swelling, high blood pressure, stroke, and more. So if your doctor is giving you orders to restrict your fluid intake, be sure to take those orders seriously because fluid retention could become life threatening.
When are fluid restrictions recommended?
Typically, fluid restrictions are not ordered until the later stages of chronic kidney disease. Most cases of end stage renal disease, especially those requiring dialysis, require strict fluid restrictions. Your doctor may start to ease you into restricting fluids as your condition progresses.
Rules of Fluid Restrictions
There are some things you should know about fluid restrictions. This information will help you keep to your prescribed restrictions a bit easier, and will go a long way towards making your life a little more comfortable too.
• Careful Planning: Meal planning is one of the number one recommended ways to navigate food restrictions for chronic illness. A carefully thought out meal plan makes life much easier when you have restrictions or a strict diet to follow. Including your fluid intake into your meal plans will help you better monitor your intake.
• Small Servings: Whenever you have a beverage or eat foods that have a lot of fluid, do so in small servings. For example, with each meal have a very small glass of an approved beverage and take slow sips to draw it out. This will help you avoid overdoing it.
• Fluids In Your Food: Keep in mind that not all fluids come in a glass. Some foods, especially fruits and vegetables, have high fluid content. When you are dealing with end stage renal disease, every drop counts so be vigilant.
• Dry Mouth Help: There are a few tricks to help you when your mouth is feeling dry. Sucking on a hard candy or chewing gum can help. Ice chips can go a long way without encouraging you to gulp down water, and you can also freeze juice or other beverages to use in the same way. Lastly, when you do have a beverage during meals or throughout the day, sip it slowly to make it last.
Fluid restrictions can be difficult to navigate, but they are a necessary treatment for some stages of chronic kidney disease. The potential dangers of not following through with fluid restrictions can be life threatening, so your doctor's orders should be taken seriously. Use this information to better understand the reasons for fluid restrictions and how to navigate them a little easier. For more information on chronic kidney disease, click here.
Also published on Medium.