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Home > Nutrition & Dialysis > Sodium & Fluids

Sodium & Fluids

Managing sodium and fluids is important for people on dialysis. Too much sodium increases thirst and causes fluid buildup in the body, which can hurt your heart.
Fluid buildup can also cause cramps during your dialysis session, high blood pressure, and shortness of breath.
About sodium
Sodium is found in many processed foods and is a major part of table salt. Instead of using salt, use sodium-free spices and herbs. You can also limit your salt intake by avoiding foods high in sodium, such as many processed foods.
Control your sodium intake
The primary role of sodium in the body is to maintain normal fluid balance. Food usually contains more sodium than the body needs, and too much can be harmful for people with chronic kidney disease. Sodium causes fluid to build up in your body and leads to many problems like raising blood pressure, swelling, and putting a strain on your heart and kidneys.
Poor sodium choices
Good sodium choices
Another good choice for occasional use
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Control your fluid intake
The amount of fluids you take in when you're on dialysis can make a difference to your health. Consuming too much fluid can cause cramps during dialysis, raise high blood pressure, and cause shortness of breath.
Dialysis helps remove those excess fluids, but fluids can build up quickly in between dialysis treatments. So it's important to get just the right amount of fluid so you can feel your best.
What counts as a fluid? Whatever you drink throughout the day counts as fluids. But you may be surprised that all of the following count as fluids too:
  • Ice
  • JELL-O®
  • Ice cream
  • Soup
  • Sherbet
Remember: for people on dialysis, fluid counts as anything that turns to liquid at room temperature.
Jell-O is not a registered trademark of Abbott Nutrition