What a renal dietitian can do for a person with kidney disease

Why is my kidney diet important?

If you are in the early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), your kidneys are functioning effectively on their own. It is important that you eat a kidney-friendly diet so that you give your body what it needs to support your kidneys. By eating foods good for the kidney diet, you may be able to prolong your kidney health and delay dialysis. 

What is a renal dietitian?

A renal dietitian is a person who specializes in nutritional treatment and diet for people with kidney disease. The health of your kidneys can be affected by your diet, so it is important to know what foods are safe to eat and which ones may cause health problems. A renal dietitian specializes in knowing how different foods affect your body, and will help you design a diet that is nutritious and helpful in managing kidney disease. 

Why should I work with a renal dietitian?

When a patient begins dialysis, he or she is assigned a renal dietitian. Even when you have early stages of chronic kidney disease, you might find it helpful to work with a dietitian. The dietitian can assist you in managing your CKD by helping you learn which foods to limit or avoid that may intensify your condition by putting extra stress on your kidneys or cause more waste and fluids to accumulate. The dietitian can coach you on the best kidney-friendly eating plan with considerations for your individual nutritional needs. 

You may need to monitor your intake of foods that contain protein, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. A renal dietitian can educate you on which foods are best for your kidney diet prescription, and how much of them you can eat. 

What can I expect from a renal dietitian when I have kidney disease?

A renal dietitian will work with you to develop an eating plan that is specifically designed for you.  Your dietitian will consider factors such as what stage of chronic kidney disease you’re in, your weight, if you have diabetes and any other unique conditions you may have.  

Renal dietitians can introduce a person with kidney disease to a variety of kidney-friendly foods and show them how to include some of their favorite foods in their diet. Following a kidney diet designed by a dietitian can have other health benefits, such as helping you to lose weight and lowering high blood pressure. You may also need to limit the amount of liquids you consume. Your dietitian can help you monitor your fluid intake, as well as advise you on the most kidney-friendly beverages for your diet. 

Summary

Although renal dietitians work with dialysis patients to help them adjust their eating habits, people who have chronic kidney disease and aren’t on dialysis can also benefit from their advice. By utilizing a renal dietitian, you will be informed about healthier kidney diet foods and may prolong your kidney function.

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