Nutrition in Renal Disease: It’s All about Balance!
The kidney is an important organ that detoxifies the body, and provides stimuli for blood and bone production. It is involved in many complex processes that carefully adjust levels of various elements in the blood in order to ensure that balance is achieved.1
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have defective blood filters. The kidney is no longer able to carry out its balancing act, resulting in electrolyte imbalances such as low sodium, or high potassium.2 Waste products accumulate in the body, and become deposited in various tissues. Fluid problems also arise; some patients become dehydrated, while others retain fluid in the extremities or in the lungs. Chronic kidney disease also hinders blood production, resulting in anaemia and weakness.2
These are the reasons why patients with CKD eventually undergo dialysis or kidney transplantation. This is because no medication is able to replace the detoxification and balancing functions of the kidney.
There are many ways to delay or even stop the progression of chronic kidney disease. For instance, moderate protein consumption along with a diet low in salt is believed to slow down the progression of the disease.3 For those with advanced disease, nutritional intakes need to be carefully formulated and may have further restrictions on the intake of phosphorus and potassium.4 With increasing dietary restrictions, patients with CKD are thus at higher risk for malnutrition.
Created specifically for patients with kidney disease, some oral nutritional supplements in the market today provide complete nutrition without disrupting electrolyte levels in the body. Apart from being formulated specifically for individuals who require electrolyte restriction, they provide the full array of vitamins, minerals and help prevent protein energy malnutrition. Speak to a dietitian to identify options that are most appropriate for you.
- Web MD. Your kidneys and how they work. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/function-kidneys. Accessed 21 March, 2016.
- Milner Q. BJA CEPD Reviews. 2003;3:130-133.
- Filipowicz R, Beddhu S. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2013;20:175-180.
- Arora P. Chronic kidney disease treatment & management. 2015; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/238798-treatment. Accessed March 21, 2016.