Nutrition & Dialysis: Why Does It Matter What You Eat?
When kidneys can't remove wastes out of the body, wastes
build up and act like toxins. To keep wastes from building up, you have to watch
what you eat—and drink—between
dialysis treatments. Learn more about the importance of protein,
potassium, and phosphorus.
When you're on dialysis, your body loses protein. To
improve your nutritional well-being, it's important to eat high-protein foods so
you can maintain a healthy level of protein in your body. By doing so, you can reduce
your risk for complications to your health, such as infections, weakness, and fatigue.
Albumin is a type of protein in the blood. Every month
at dialysis your albumin level will be tested. Albumin is a good measure of your
overall nutritional well-being. Improved nutritional well-being may help increase
your energy levels.
With the right levels of albumin, you lower your risk
for complications like infections or hospitalization.
Your body needs protein to build muscle and lower your risk for infection. Now that
you are on dialysis, you will need more high-quality proteins, such as lean meat,
eggs, fish, and chicken.
People on dialysis have kidneys that can no longer filter potassium from the blood.
When potassium builds up in the blood, you can become sick. Selecting foods low
in potassium can help you feel better.
Phosphorus can build up in the blood when your kidneys aren't working right. Because
too much phosphorus can lead to bone and heart problems, it is important to choose
foods low in phosphorus.
Fluids can build up quickly between dialysis treatments and can cause bloating and
discomfort. The right amount of fluid intake can help you feel your best. Learn
more about fluid management
Make sure you are getting enough calories every day because they are important to
keep your energy level up.
If you have diabetes, the carbohydrates you eat should be balanced with your medicines
and activity level to keep your blood sugar under control.
To make sure you are making the most of what you eat
and drink, work closely with your dietitian or nutritionist. Find out what your
target albumin level should be and ask about nutritional options to help you reach
Also ask your dietitian or nutritionist to help you
form a daily meal plan. By including food choices that
are good for a renal diet, you can work to lower wastes in your blood and feel better
in between treatments.