According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in three American adults are at high risk for kidney disease due to risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure, and age 60 years or older. Kidney disease progresses in four stages, depending on the severity of the disease. When abnormalities in kidney structure or function are present for more than three months, it is called “chronic kidney disease” (CKD). When the disease advances to a point where kidneys no longer function, it is called “end-stage renal disease” (ESRD), and patients need to start dialysis. Dialysis is the process of removing wastes, salt, and extra water from the body to prevent them from building up in the body. An external machine acts as the kidneys and helps to maintain a safe level of electrolytes and fluids, as well as control blood pressure.
When a patient starts on dialysis, a “renal diet” (otherwise known as dialysis diet) is prescribed by the doctor. Because dialysis functions to remove a buildup of salt and electrolytes such as potassium and phosphorus in the body, the renal diet aims to keep sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intake as low as possible. Below, foods that are high, moderate, and low in each electrolyte are discussed and foods that dialysis patients should avoid are listed.
Next: Foods Low in Sodium