Sunday, December 15, 2013

Special Diet Plans for those with Kidney Disease

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Kidney disease is a very serious condition for many people. The disease prevents the kidney’s ability to filter and remove waste products and fluids from the blood. Kidneys are not able to maintain the proper fluid and electrolyte balances. Individuals with kidney disease are usually given a special diet that helps control fluid buildup. It is possible for diuretics and other medications to eliminate excess sodium, potassium, and water, but patients must follow a particular diet in order to remain healthy. Avoiding certain foods and eating properly can help regulate the balance of sodium, potassium, and water. The extent of one’s kidney damage will help in the decision of how sodium, potassium, phosphate, and other fluid intake should be controlled.

Each patient with kidney disease has different needs, based on their body, weight, size, and remaining kidney function, but there are some general guidelines that all patients must follow. First, patients must make sure that they are receiving enough calories each day. Blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels can be controlled through healthy eating. Healthy eating can also be used to slow the progression of kidney disease. For most patients, it is also best to limit sodium, fluids, and protein intake, and some may even have to limit potassium, phosphorus, and calcium intake. A dietitian or nutritionists are the most qualified to recommend an eating plan for those with kidney disease.     

It is extremely important for individuals with kidney disease to limit their sodium and potassium intake. An excess of sodium can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure for those with kidney disease. If there is an excess of potassium, it may result in an irregular heartbeat and a possible heart attack. The safest level of sodium intake is 2000 to 3000mg per day. People with kidney disease will find it best to divide their sodium limit between their daily meals. It is also important to read food labels, and check for sodium content. Spices and herbs mix that list salt or MSG near the beginning of the ingredients list should be avoided because they are high in potassium. It is best for kidney disease patients to use salt-free herbs and spices, and never use salt or any substitute. Processed cheeses, canned, pickled, and those with kidney disease should also avoid smoked meats.    

Protein is needed to make tissue and blood products in the body, but people with kidney disease should limit their intake of protein. A dietitian can help patients create an eating plan that balances their need for less protein with enough protein to keep them healthy. Some of the major sources of protein include eggs, beef, poultry, fish, and dairy product, but patients should be able to find protein in breads, cereals, and certain vegetables. Limiting the intake of protein will help keep the level of protein waste products (urea) low in the blood. Kidney disease patients on dialysis will be asked to increase the protein intake to replace a portion of the protein that is removed during the dialysis procedure. It is strongly recommended that patients only eat fresh and frozen meats, because processed meats contain high levels of potassium. Peanut butter, dried bean, peas, salmon, and oysters should also be limited because of they are high in phosphorus.    

It is also important for individuals with kidney disease to limit their fluid intake. Most patients don’t realize that food also contains water, and an excess of water can cause discomfort and increased blood pressure. Foods such as soup, Jell-O, and ice cream are seen as fluids, as well as some fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water. Patients must also limit their phosphorus intake. It is important for patients to limit their intake of dairy products, such as milk, limit their intake of yogurt, and to limit their intake of ice cream. People with kidney disease should also avoid drinks, such as beer, cola, and cocoa. The list of foods patients should avoid may be long, but the special diet can help patients control their disease.


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