You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and for those with kidney disease, it’s even more vital that a proper dietary plan be followed to minimize symptoms, such as pain, nausea, swelling and others, and to perhaps even slow the progression of the disease. Visiting Angels recommends the following dietary considerations (once approved by the physician):
Excessive amounts of sodium in the diet can cause the body to retain fluids, raise blood pressure and make the heart work harder. Sodium consumption should be limited to 2 grams per day. Avoid foods that contain large amounts of salt such as:
- Canned food
- Processed meat and smoked meat
- Chips, crackers or pretzels
- Pickled foods like olives and pickles
- High-sodium condiments like soy sauce, BBQ sauce or ketchup
NOTE: Be careful with salt substitutes and “reduced sodium” foods, as many salt substitutes are high in potassium.
Potassium is a mineral found in almost all foods. The body requires some potassium to make the muscles work, but during dialysis, potassium levels must be very closely monitored. Having too much or too little potassium can cause muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness. A dietitian can help determine how much potassium is best for an individual.
Although protein is a necessary nutrient, when the kidneys are not functioning properly, excess protein starts to build up in the blood. People with kidney disease should consume no more protein than is needed by the body. When treatment is started early, a low protein diet and a balanced formula of essential amino acids at each meal has shown to delay the time to dialysis and even reverse some kidney problems.
Vitamins and Minerals
People with kidney disease may require vitamin supplements to help avoid some common side effects of kidney failure like bone disease or anemia, but these should be taken only as directed by a doctor.
At Visiting Angels, we’re helping seniors throughout Santa Clara and Alameda counties to manage kidney disease, through our in-home care services which include careful meal planning and preparation services, assistance with following doctors’ orders, and providing the cheerful companionship that lifts up spirits and brings warmth and joy into the home. Contact us to learn more at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale, or 510-284-0000 in Fremont.