What is Renal Diet?
Patients suffering from kidney disease, especially renal failure, need a special diet to control the build-up of waste products that that the body needs to eliminate but the kidney could no longer do for them. Undergoing a special renal diet decreases the workload of the kidneys and prevents it from losing its functions.
A healthy renal diet is characterized by limiting the potassium, salt or sodium, fluid and phosphorus intake of the body. It also limits other elements that may cause the body some complications that will further deteriorate health condition. Kidney disease sufferer must limit saturated fats if their cholesterol is high to avoid high blood pressure and limit their carbohydrates if their sugar level is high to avoid diabetes. Renal diet also includes high intake of fiber to prevent constipation which comes with loss of kidney function.
A registered dietitian can help. The doctor or dietitian knows better than yourself. Their assistance will ensure that you are doing the right thing on this.
Importance of Renal Diet
The purpose of undergoing a kidney disease diet is to maintain balance between minerals, electrolytes and fluid in patients who have chronic kidney disease, especially those undergoing dialysis treatments. It is very important to prevent electrolyte disorders, build-up of waste in the body of patients who are undergoing dialysis treatments because the waste if accumulated may poison the body and produce more complications.
Because dialysis patients urinate very little or do not urinate at all, limiting the amount of fluid taken by the body is very essential. Being unable to eliminate the excess fluid in the body will lead to excess fluid in the heart and lungs.
Since the kidney could no longer filter or remove extra wastes in the body, then the filtering must be done before your body takes anything. Failure to undergo a renal diet will lead to many complications such as fluid overload, itching, bone problems, nausea, weight loss, appetite loss and high potassium levels.
Symptoms of Renal Failure
Kidney failure is at first asymptotic which means there are no visible symptoms that will tell you that you have the disease. It is most advisable to undergo regular check-up, urinalysis and blood test to know if your kidneys are functioning well. It is always better to do the right things at the early stage of the disease before you reach the chronic stage because sometimes, ignorance of the disease leads us to do things that further deteriorate the health problems.
If you have experienced weakness, high blood pressure, breathing difficulty, swelling, loss of appetite and lethargy, you may have kidney disease.
If you have a chronic renal failure, you experience metabolic acidosis or increased acidity in the body. This is caused by the inability of the body to manufacture bicarbonate, which will alter the enzyme and oxygen metabolism leading to organ failure. The rising urea levels in the blood also affects the function of the organs of the body including the brain, heart and muscles.
The kidney is also responsible for producing red blood cells. If you have a chronic kidney disease, you experience weakness due to anemia. Anemia is caused by the decrease in the red blood cell count. A decrease of red blood cells is tantamount to a decrease in oxygen delivery to the cells the reason why the body tires quickly.
Renal Diet tips and Renal Diet Recipes
Too much fluid in the body causes swelling, shortness of breath and high blood pressure. The doctor or dietitian will ask you to limit your fluid intake because your kidney can no longer release them out of the body as kidney function declines. Examples of fluids we usually take are coffee, tea, soups, sodas, ice cream, ice, milk, sauces, water, wine, beer and the likes.
Diet tips to control the intake of fluid includes drinking only when thirsty, eating less salt to feel less thirsty, brushing up to four times a day to prevent the mouth from drying out and monitoring how much glass of water you consume daily.
Protein and Phosphorus Control
Always discuss first with your doctor or dietitian before making any change to your diet. As kidney functions decline, the body could not get rid of excess phosphorus in the body resulting to imbalance. Phosphorus works with calcium in keeping the bones healthy. Imbalanced or increased phosphorus prevents the body from taking enough calcium, thus the bones weaken. High phosphorus level is characterized by itchy skin, bone and joint pain and brittle bones.
The usual foods we eat that are high in phosphorus are cola drinks, cheese, peanut butter, chicken liver, nuts, and beer. You may eat the substitutes instead. Foods with lower phosphorus level are non-dairy milk, non-cola soda, broccoli and hard candy. If you fail to lower the phosphorus level, your doctor will most likely prescribe you to take a phosphate binder.
Kidney disease sufferers are also asked to regulate their protein intake. If the patient is not undergoing dialysis yet, he is advised to limit the protein intake. But is he is already undergoing dialysis treatment, he must take more protein because the treatment will lose him protein in the process. Protein rich foods include dairy products, cheese and meat, milk, eggs, seafood and poultry products. Foods with lower protein level are breads, cereals, grains, vegetables and fruits.
Potassium can be found in many foods. The body needs it to keep the nerves, muscles and heart working properly. High potassium level is dangerous that is why the kidney regulates them. As the kidney function declines, the potassium level can go higher to the point of stopping your heart from functioning.
The foods we normally eat with high potassium are bananas, broccoli, chocolate, coffee, oranges, potato, prunes, raisins, nuts and apricots. You may be asked to eat a healthy food or foods with low potassium instead such as apples, beans, grapes, onions, water melon, pears, cranberries and bread. Even as these foods are low in potassium, when you eat them in great size, it can be a source of high potassium.
Imbalanced sodium level can cause kidney stones and swelling in the eyes, hands and ankles. A balanced level of sodium in the body is needed for muscle functions and control of fluid and blood pressure.
The foods we usually take with high sodium content are tables salt, chips, nuts, cheese, instant soup, canned foods and other processed foods. Alternatives to these are foods seasoned with garlic and a variety of spices and lemon.
Before making any change to your diet, make sure to consult your doctor or dietitian. Renal Diet is very important to avoid complications in the body. Renal diet helps in the curing process.