The hemodialysis diet is an eating plan for patients who are on hemodialysis.

This is designed to reduce the amount of fluid and waste which builds up between hemodialysis treatments so patients can feel better.

Both dietitians and medical doctors recommend patients undergoing dialysis follow the diet so treatments are more effective and to reduce health complications associated with kidney disease and dialysis.

This diet includes a balance of fluid and protein as well as restrictions of sodium, phosphorus and potassium.

Potassium

Potassium is easily removed by dialysis, but when it builds up in the blood between treatments, it can cause muscle weakness and can affect the heart. Certain fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other foods that are high in potassium and are restricted from the diet.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is difficult for hemodialysis to filter from the blood. so it’s important to limit foods that contain the mineral. Phosphorus can build to high levels in the bloodstream and cause weak bones, heart problems, joint pain or skin ulcers. Your doctor may also prescribe a medicine called a phosphorus binder to help keep phosphorus levels normal.

Sodium

Sodium causes your body to hold onto more fluid and raises your blood pressure. Eating less sodium and drinking less fluid can help you feel comfortable before and after your dialysis sessions.

Protein and Fluid

The hemodialysis diet calls for higher amounts of protein into your eating plan. Your dietitian will determine the amount.

High-protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish and egg whites provide all the essential amino acids your body needs.

Too much fluid gain between hemodialysis sessions can cause discomfort, including swelling, shortness of breath or high blood pressure.

Fluid intake is not limited to what you can drink; it’s also hidden in some foods you eat, including gelatin, ice, sherbet, watermelon, sauces and gravies. Your dietitian will give you guidelines to help you monitor your fluid intake.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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