People undergoing dialysis should follow a diet regularly, in order to gain maximum benefit from the treatment method. In this article, you will find the list of foods safe to eat, and those to be avoided, for people on dialysis.
You must be aware that the kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the lower abdominal region, and are responsible for filtering the wastes out of the body. Due to this important function, the kidneys are considered as one of the vital organs in the body. If the kidneys fail to function properly, waste builds up in the body, which can prove harmful. However, the kidneys of people who suffer from acute renal (kidney) failure, or chronic kidney disease, are unable to eliminate waste out of their body. In such cases, these people are advised to undergo dialysis which is a procedure that carries out the function of the kidneys artificially. When undergoing dialysis, the person is also advised to follow a dialysis diet, as making right choices of food will help in proper treatment.
The type of diet depends on the type of dialysis undertaken and also varies according to it. For e.g., peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD) are the two types of dialysis. The peritoneal dialysis is undertaken daily and required by people who suffer from severe renal failure. On the other hand, the hemodialysis is carried out 3-5 times a week. The dialysis diet concentrates on the intake of fluids, proteins; and maintaining an electrolyte balance by keeping the intake of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus in check. Following are the guidelines that will help you know what to eat and what not to eat.
Once the person is on dialysis, his protein requirement increases. Specially people on the peritoneal dialysis have a higher requirement of proteins as much proteins are lost when the peritoneal fluid is discarded. Meat and meat substitutes, egg, fish, milk and dairy produce are some protein containing products that can be eaten. However, one should note that higher intake of proteins can exert pressure on the already weak kidneys. Therefore, it is wise to consult a doctor about the protein intake.
People on hemodialysis (HD) need to lower their intake of potassium as potassium can build up in the body, in between the sessions of dialysis, which can lead to hyperkalemia. On the other hand, people on peritoneal dialysis (PD) should have higher potassium intake as their potassium levels fall due to daily dialysis. Tomatoes, bananas, oranges, contain high potassium.
Due to the impaired function of kidneys, they are not able to get rid of the excess water from the body. This leads to water retention which can increase the blood pressure. Therefore, the intake of fluids should be limited. One should not have fruit juices or water containing fruits like melons, grapes, etc. Water and other beverages should also be consumed in limited amounts.
Sodium containing foods make one thirsty, which will consequently increase fluid intake. Therefore, it is wise to cut down on sodium containing foods. Salted foods, spices, preserved foods should be avoided. Rather, one should have fresh foods and those marked with ‘low sodium’.
You also need to limit the intake of phosphorus containing foods, irrespective of whichever dialysis you are undergoing. This is because excess phosphorus in the body causes hollowing of bones. Cheese, peas, nuts, peanut butter, contain high amounts of phosphorus and hence, should be avoided. The phosphorus obtained from meat and vegetables is sufficient for the body.
People on dialysis are at a higher risk of suffering from heart diseases. Therefore, they need to watch their weight, and also limit their intake of fat. One should consume only those number of calories that are essential for gaining energy. Fatty foods like salted, fried, fat containing dairy produce should be avoided completely. Sometimes, people may be advised to put on weight, if they have very low weight. Weight gain is usually achieved by consuming starchy foods like bread, rice and vegetable oils.
Following this diet will keep you healthier, which will consequently make treatment easier and more effective. You can consult a doctor and write down your diet food list, based on the type of dialysis you are undergoing. Generally, a food list for peritoneal dialysis is much more liberal than that meant for the hemodialysis diet. Lastly, note that the information mentioned here is only for educational purposes. It is recommended to consult a doctor before making any changes in the diet. Take care!