A healthy diet is vital for people who suffer from kidney disease. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, waste builds up in the bloodstream, causing swelling, pain, nausea, and a number of other issues. Making smart dietary choices can help minimize these symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

Fluids
People with kidney disease must limit the amount of fluid in their diets because when the kidneys are no longer functioning properly, fluids accumulate in the body, which can cause swelling of the hands, legs and feet and difficulty breathing.

Sodium/Salt
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
  • Nuts
  • 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
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.

Protein
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 was started early, a low protein diet and a balanced formula of essential amino acids at each meal has been 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.

Live Free Home Health Care understands the specific care and dietary needs of older adults with kidney disease, and can assist with chronic disease care and meals at home. Contact us today to learn more about the ways in-home care can help effectively manage kidney disease and other chronic illnesses.