Kidney disease is diagnosed in stages, and each stage has its own dietary needs. As kidney disease progresses in stages, the body becomes unable to assimilate protein properly, so the intake of protein is reduced. Stage Five, the final stage, will require dialysis and another change in diet. It is necessary to work with a dietician to maintain the best possible health. Not only will the body’s requirement for protein change, but the intake of sodium, potassium and phosphorous will have to be restricted. The patient will also have to drink less.
End stage renal disease can cause an imbalance of electrolytes, minerals and fluids, which the new diet is meant to counteract. Kidneys that are functioning properly process literally gallons of blood every day, removing waste products from the blood. These waste products are sent to the bladder to be expelled as urine. Urine also contains any excess fluid that has built up inside the body.
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Kidneys that do not function correctly will result in a backup of fluid inside the body, causing problems in a number of organs, like the heart and lungs, and in other places that fluids tend to collect, like the feet and ankles. Dialysis patients may not urinate at all or only urinate very little. Any urine that is eliminated from the body tends to be in a very concentrated form, which increases the chance of a urinary tract infection. This is why dialysis patients are often restricted in their fluid intake. These excess fluids can build up around the heart, making heartbeats more difficult. They can collect around the lungs, which can result in pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Too much fluid in the bloodstream can cause an electrolyte imbalance, which can interfere with the rhythm of the heart and cause impaired brain function.
A dialysis patient will have the levels of certain substances checked before the session. Albumin, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and urea are all measured at the beginning, and then once more at the end. This enables a nutritionist to change the patient’s diet to whatever will be most beneficial. The amount of fluids allowed will also be changed based on the urinary output and how much water weight is gained between each dialysis session.
The early stages of kidney disease can be slowed by consuming less protein. When the disease progresses to the stage that dialysis is necessary, more protein will be required. There are two types of dialysis, and which one a patient will receive depends upon the type of kidney disease and other health conditions that the patient may suffer. Hemo-dialysis and peritoneal dialysis are the two kinds of dialysis – the latter will require more protein, because of the amount of protein that is discarded after each treatment.
It is not easy to get the required amount of protein. There are complications which are compounded by the dialysis process. Most kidney patients have more than just kidney disease to worry about. Kidney patients often have a low appetite as well and may not feel like eating in general. These are reasons why good nutrition is so vitally important. A protein supplement may even be necessary to supply this very important macronutrient in the right amounts.
High blood pressure and heart disease can either cause or be caused by kidney disease. No matter which came first, this means that a low-fat diet is important to a kidney disease patient. The risk to the heart grows as the disease progresses, which makes the right diet important for many different reasons.
Nutrition is a big concern for kidney disease patients, especially those undergoing dialysis. A good diet will take care of many of the necessary vitamins and minerals, but there are some of these that a dialysis diet does not supply in sufficient measure. Others are lost during treatment. A supplement will probably be necessary.
Life with Kidney Disease and Dialysis
Many people contract kidney disease through no real fault of their own. It is not something that happens only to old people – people can struggle with this disease their whole lives. A history of high blood pressure may actually be developing chronic kidney disease. A visit to a nephrologist can easily confirm the condition of your kidneys, should this be the case. A diagnosis of kidney disease will mean a treatment plan, including a visit to a nutritionist to learn about the condition and devise a good diet to slow the progression of the disease.
The diet will likely be low-fat, and if the disease is its early stages, you will be told that your diet should also be low in protein. You will also have to watch your electrolytes and reduce the amount of fluids your drink each day. It will be your responsibility to follow directions and keep as healthy as possible. You should be especially careful if you have a family history of heart or kidney disease. Unfortunately, even the strictest adherence to diet and health may not stop the progression of kidney disease, though it may slow it. Dialysis may eventually become necessary. At this point, your diet will be altered again because your need for protein will go up radically. You will probably have to take a number of water-soluble vitamins to supplement your diet and keep your health and strength as high as possible.
It can take five hours or more for each session of dialysis every day and there will be days that you don’t feel especially well. Protein supplements will probably be a practical requirement so that you get the proper amount of nutrients. A really good way to get the protein that you need is a liquid protein shot from which provides 25 grams of protein in every serving.
About Protica Research
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm specializing in the development of protein-rich, capsulized foods (dense nutrition in compact liquid and food forms). Protica manufactures Profect protein beverage, IsoMetric, Fruitasia and more than 100 other brands in its GMP-certified, 250,000 square foot facility.
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