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Guidelines for eating and drinking during hemodialysis

Dr. D. Rajasekar, MBBS, MD, DM, Nephrologist, Consultant Nephrologist in Suagam Hospital, Pallavaram, Chennai, Currently Working in Tagore Medical College Hospital, Vandaloor

Published: Dec 23, 2022 04:21:41 PM IST
Updated: Jan 6, 2023 04:18:54 PM IST

Guidelines for eating and drinking during hemodialysisYour choices about what to eat and drink while on hemodialysis can make a difference in how you feel and can make your treatments work better. Between dialysis treatment sessions, wastes can build up in your blood and make you sick. You can reduce waste build-up by controlling what you eat and drink. You can match what you eat and drink with what your kidney treatments remove. Some foods cause waste to build up quickly between your dialysis sessions. If your blood contains too much waste, your kidney treatment session may not remove them all.

Your diet is an important part of your treatment. Your kidneys cannot get rid of enough waste products and fluids from your blood and your body now has special needs. Therefore, you will need to limit fluids and change your intake of certain foods in your diet. The kidney dietitian at your dialysis center will help you plan a diet for your special needs.

Eat and Drink affects Haemodialysis
When you are on haemodialysis, your food and drink preferences can impact your treatment and how you feel after undergoing it. Between two sessions of your dialysis, wastes and toxins can accumulate in your blood, making you feel sick. However, you can keep this accumulation under control by following a proper renal diet. You can balance your diet with what dialysis tends to remove from your blood and prevent waste and fluid buildup.

Eating and Drinking during Haemodialysis
If you are getting started with hemodialysis, you need to make certain changes in your diet and lifestyle. Needless to say, what you eat in a day is a crucial aspect of your treatment. Therefore, it is highly advisable to get in touch with a renal dietician to plan a special diet for you. As far as a standard diet for hemodialysis is concerned, here are some of the vital pointers to consider:

  • Make sure to include high-protein food items in your diet.
  • Make sure to consume foods that contain low levels of sodium and potassium and high levels of phosphorus.
  • Learn how much fluid you can safely drink (including coffee, tea, water, and any food that is liquid at room temperature).

Salt & Sodium
Use less salt and eat fewer salty foods: This may help to control blood pressure. It may also help reduce fluid weight gains between dialysis sessions since salt increases thirst and causes the body to retain (or hold on to) fluid.

  • Use herbs, spices, and low-salt flavor enhancers in place of salt
  • Avoid salt substitutes made with potassium.

People on dialysis need to eat more protein. Protein can help keep healthy blood protein levels and improve health. Protein also helps keep your muscles strong, helps wounds heal faster, strengthens your immune system, and helps improve overall health. Eat a high protein food (meat, fish, poultry, fresh pork, or eggs) at every meal, or about 8-10 ounces of high protein foods every day.

Unless you need to limit your calorie intake for weight loss and/or manage carbohydrate intake for blood sugar control, you may eat, as you desire from this food group. Grains, cereals, and bread are good sources of calories. Most people need 6 -11 servings from this group each day.

Limit your intake of milk, yogurt, and cheese to ½-cup milk or ½-cup yogurt or 1-ounce cheese per day. Most dairy foods are very high in phosphorus. The phosphorus content is the same for all types of milk – skim, low-fat, and whole! If you do eat any high-phosphorus foods, take a phosphate binder with that meal.

All fruits have some potassium, but certain fruits have more than others and should be limited or totally avoided. Limiting potassium protects your heart.
Limit or avoid:

  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Kiwis
  • Nectarines
  • Prunes and prune juice
  • Raisins and dried fruit
  • Bananas
  • Melons (cantaloupe and honeydew)
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