Kidney Transplantation and Dialysis Program

Nutrition and Dialysis

Nutrition is an important part of dialysis treatment. You will be asked to change some things about your diet once you start dialysis. For example, you will have to limit how much fluid you drink each day. You will also be asked to limit your intake of certain minerals (eg, sodium, phosphorus and potassium). The dialysis machine filters out minerals from the blood that your kidney would normally remove. There are a few minerals that dialysis does not remove well. You need to eat less of the foods that contain these minerals to help keep them from building up in the body and causing harm.

In the beginning, you will be asked to limit certain kinds of foods. Your doctors and nurses will check your labs to make sure things are going well. If your blood is showing high levels of the mineral found in those foods, we may ask you to limit those foods even more. If your blood levels are okay, you may be able to increase your intake of these foods. The dietitian will review any changes with you as they are needed.

At your first meeting with the renal dietitian, feel free to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have about your diet. We know that changing the way you eat can be difficult. We want to work with you to make sure you are as healthy as possible. The dietitian is always available to answer any questions that may come up as you become more familiar with the treatment and the diet.

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Reviewed by: Bernard S. Kaplan, MB, BCh, FAAP
Date: July 2005

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