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Nutrition

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Adequate nutrition is very important and it should be an integral part of your treatment along with dialysis and medication.

When kidneys no longer function at full capacity, it is necessary to adapt the diet to allow for the changes in the body. Helpful information about what nutrients are good for you and what you should pay attention to when eating and drinking can be found below. The recommended nutrition depends on the stage of kidney failure and type of treatment. The information below does not replace extensive dietary advice. Please follow the recommendations of your physician and dietician.

 

  1. As a dialysis patient, you have a higher need for protein because part of it is lost during dialysis. You should reckon with at least 1 g of protein per kg of body weight, i.e. 70 g of protein if the body weighs 70 kg. Protein is an important nutrient for many bodily functions. If you regularly eat high-protein food, then you provide for an adequate supply of energy. You should avoid unwanted weight loss because you need energy for dialysis treatment.
  2. Serum phosphate levels of more than 2 mmol/l can cause bone decalcification and vascular sclerosis in the long-term. To protect the heart, vessels and bones, the intake of phosphate should only be 800-1,200 mg per day.
  3. If the kidneys no longer excrete enough potassium, then the levels of potassium increase in the blood (hyperkalemia), especially after eating food rich in potassium. This manifests itself by a feeling of numbness in the facial area, muscle tremors, stiff legs, and cardiac arrhythmias. Hyperkalemia is very dangerous; therefore, potassium intake should be controlled, but you will receive advice on this.
  4. To prevent you from retaining too much water between dialysis sessions, you must limit the amount you drink if your urine output decreases. The rule of thumb is urine output + 500 ml = amount of fluid per day. Your doctor or nurse will advise you on your daily allowance.

Protein is needed for the repair and maintenance of body tissue, growth and for fighting infections. It is also a vital component of body fluids, including blood. When on dialysis, you have to make sure that the amount of protein in your diet is sufficient. Your dietitian will calculate the recommended amount of protein intake and teach you about the right nutrition.

Calcium is a mineral that is important for strong bones and, in combination with potassium, it is needed for healthy muscles and skeletal system. However, foods that are rich sources of calcium are also high in phosphorus. To prevent the loss of calcium from your bones, you need to follow a low phosphorus diet and take phosphate binders. To keep your calcium and phosphorus in balance and to prevent bone disease, your doctor may prescribe a special form of vitamin D.
Salt is naturally found in most foods and is also used to add flavor to meals. Please always check the ingredients of the food you buy to avoid eating hidden salt. Sodium controls the fluid balance in your body; so restricting the intake of sodium (mostly from salt) becomes important to avoid fluid accumulation if your production of urine has decreased.

Potassium is a mineral that supports nerve and muscle function and is also found in food. It helps your muscles and heart work properly. If your potassium level is too high (hyperkalemia) or too low (hypokalemia), these organs can be affected. If your kidneys fail, you will probably need to limit your intake of high-potassium foods. Your blood level of potassium will be checked regularly and your dietitian will give you advice on a proper diet with the right amount of potassium.

Phosphate is a mineral found in all foods that is needed for the maintenance of healthy bones. However, the body only needs a certain amount of phosphate. Our kidneys usually keep the balance right by excreting phosphate whenever there is too much in the body. If your kidneys fail, you have to control the levels of phosphate in your body by restricting your intake orally (low phosphate diet) and by using a medicine called a phosphate binder that is taken with meals and snacks.

Recipes

Here you will find plenty of delicious recipe ideas for dialysis patients as well as lots of tips and tricks. more

Keep a precise record of what you eat and drink and regularly inform yourself about what you are allowed to consume.

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