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Chronic Kidney Disease and Dietary Changes

Chronic kidney disease changes the way your body handles waste products from the foods and beverages that you eat each day. The kidneys are the filters that normally remove excess nutrients that the body cannot use. The major nutrients involved are potassium, sodium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and fluids. If you are in stages 1,2, or 3 of kidney failure, your kidneys most likely are still filtering adequate waste products. As the kidney failure reaches stages 4-5, the kidneys struggle to remove adequate amounts of the waste products and they begin to accumulate in the blood stream. Limiting these nutrients in your diet will help your body to prevent excessive levels in the blood stream.

Remember that each person is unique in the cause of chronic kidney disease and the symptoms and complications associated with this. Therefore, treatment must be individualized for each person.

Before you make a lot of changes however you will need to discuss your lab results with your physician to see which nutrients would be beneficial for you to limit. Anyone with high blood pressure will benefit from a reduction in sodium. Some of the changes you will see in the different stages of kidney failure are listed below.

Stages 1-2

Diagnosis of CKD. Any existing complications such as proteinuria (protein in the urine), high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. are assessed and treatment goals identified. A low sodium diet is beneficial.

Stages 3

Progression of complications, treatment goals are readjusted to reach target ranges. Good control of blood sugars and blood pressure are very beneficial to help delay the progression of the disease. A low sodium diet along with a moderate restriction in protein is beneficial to most individuals at this stage.

Stages 4

As kidney failure progresses, treatment goals continue to be readjusted. It is important to follow your labs values with your physician. Continue the sodium restriction and moderate protein diet. In addition, a potassium and phosphorus restriction may be necessary at this time. Do not limit these nutrients however without the advice of your MD. It is important to monitor weight daily and report any sudden large gains or losses to your MD as these may require more aggressive treatment plans.

Stage 5

Dialysis will be initiated at this time. On dialysis, you will need to limit sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and fluids. Protein intake will need to be increased at this time. Your dialysis dietitian will assist you in making these changes.