How To Diet For Dialysis Patients

Here are some important guidelines on how to diet for dialysis patients. Dieting when on dialysis is quite different than other diets such as cancer, which limit animal proteins and suggests a mainly vegetarian lifestyle. Dialysis patients need more protein when undergoing the dialysis procedure. There are two main types of dialysis procedures and this article will explain the basics of how to diet for dialysis patients.

  1. Two Main Types of Dialysis Procedures. The two main types are peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) which is done in the home and hemodialysis which is the most common type done in a hospital setting. Depending on the condition of the patient, the doctor will choose the correct process.  No one dialysis procedure is correct for every patient.
  2. Who Needs Dialysis? Dialysis is generally used when the toxins are so high that the person becomes sick. Normally you hear about congenital kidney failure, but there are other illnesses which may force the necessity of dialysis such as: long term diabetes, high blood pressure and other related diseases. Through dialysis the toxins are pumped out of the body.
  3. Diet for Dialysis. When on dialysis, nutrition is the most important part of the diet.  It is important to increase protein, eat less salt and avoid foods high in phosphorus and potassium. Limiting calories is also important, as dialysis patients tend to gain weight from the procedure.  This can be accomplished by limiting sweets and sugary foods.
  4. A Diet High in Proteins. Patients on hemodialysis need eight to ten ounces of protein daily. Patients doing the peritoneal dialysis need more protein. Peritoneal dialysis patients are suggested to eat 1-1/2 times more protein than usual. Protein can be found in ricotta or brie cheese (no more than one ounce a day), eggs, meat, chicken, turkey, fish or pork.  
  5. Limiting Potassium. Hemodialysis patients need to limit high potassium foods, but patients on peritoneal do not, as they are having dialysis every day and the potassium risk is eliminated.  Foods high in potassium are bananas, tomatoes, oranges, exotic fruits and potatoes.
  6. Foods low in Phosphorus. It is important to limit phosphorus when on dialysis, as the kidneys lose the ability to balance calcium and phosphorus. Phosphorus is not removed as easily as potassium is in dialysis and is important to eat only foods low in phosphorus such as: ricotta cheese, brie cheese, butter or tub margarine, dried beans, liver, nuts, sherbet and chocolate.
  7. Limiting Salt. As with most illnesses, salt is to be eliminated or limited greatly. Salt causes the body to hold fluids and cause the blood pressure to rise. Dialysis patients are suggested to use herbs to season their foods and avoid salt substitutes made with potassium.
  8. Grains and Whole Wheat Products. Patients on dialysis may feel free to eat grains, cereals and breads as they like, unless the patient needs to reduce calories. Although the dialysis diet does not specify whole wheat products, whole wheat products are suggested to maintain a healthier body and obtain longevity.
  9. Foods to Avoid and/or Limit. As on every diet there are foods to avoid especially those which contain high levels of potassium such as: oranges, orange juice, nectarines, kiwis, bananas, raisins, dried fruit and melons. Other foods to limit or avoid are: potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, asparagus, beets, cooked spinach, avocados and parsnips.  
  10. Exercise. The final suggestion for the dialysis diet is to get plenty of sunshine and exercise.  If the patient is weak and unable to do many exercises, then the use of a mini-rebounder is suggested. A few jumps on the mini-trampoline will cause the lymph to flow and will revive the body. There are also several easy exercises that can be done in a chair such as leg lifts and arm exercises.




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