Branson Nephrology and all of our dialysis units offer patient-centered nutritional counseling. Our renal dietitians have special training in the nutritional needs of people with kidney disease. They will teach you how to choose the right foods and manage your fluids to help you feel your best.
The kidneys’ main job is to act as a filter for the body by removing waste products from your blood. When kidney function starts to decline, the kidneys lose their ability to filter harmful waste products, causing them to accumulate in your blood. This can make managing your blood pressure difficult and make you feel fatigued or sick in general.
Dialysis is the only way to remove waste that builds up in your body from the food and fluids you consume. Dialysis patients need a diet that reduces the amount of fluid and toxic waste that builds up between dialysis treatments. Dialysis patients can reduce waste buildup by controlling WHAT and HOW MUCH they eat and drink. Your dietitian will meet with you frequently and serve as your nutritional coach through your life as a dialysis patient.
Each patient has different needs when it comes to their diets. Your dietary needs depend on your lab results and level of kidney function. When your kidneys fail, your renal dietitian will help you plan your meals and educate you on how to manage your potassium, phosphorus, and sodium.
Your dietician will review your labs monthly and talk to you about any changes you need to make to your diet. Following the diet plan that has been tailored to you will make you feel better and decrease your risk of health complications associated with kidney disease.
Dialysis doesn’t remove phosphorus from the blood easily. Phosphorus builds up in your bloodstream and can cause weak bones, heart problems, joint pain, and skin ulcers. If diet alone isn’t enough to keep phosphorus levels down, your nephrologist may prescribe a phosphorus binder to take with meals.
Potassium is easily removed during dialysis, but it is still important to limit the amount you consume in your diet. A diet that is high in potassium can lead to potassium buildup in your blood between treatments. High potassium is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for dialysis patients because, in addition to muscle weakness, very high potassium levels can cause cardiac arrest.
Sodium & Fluid
Sodium causes you to retain more fluid and can increase your blood pressure. This can lead to swelling and shortness of breath. Consuming too much sodium in your diet can also cause you to have cramps while on dialysis because it makes it harder to remove excess fluid from your body.
Fluid is not limited to what you drink. It can hide in the foods you eat, too. If you need a spoon to eat a food at room temperature, it is considered a fluid.
Our renal dietitians are here to help give you the knowledge you need to care for your kidneys, address any nutritional concerns you might have, and work with you to create a meal plan tailored to your treatment plan. You’ll come in once a month to meet with a dietitian and discuss your next steps.
Reach out to us to learn more about proper nutrition using our online contact form. Please call one of our dialysis centers if you’d like to schedule an appointment.