Diet & kidney failure

Do I need a special diet?

If you are reaching end stage renal failure, you may be asking if you need to follow a special diet. The answer may be yes. If you require a special diet, you will be referred to a dietitian for appropriate dietary advice.

It is unwise to restrict your diet in any way unless you have received advice from a dietitian.

What diet will I need to follow?

You may need to carefully control the amount of potassium you get from the food you eat if blood tests show that potassium levels in your body are higher than they should be.

Potassium is a kind of salt which is present naturally in the foods we eat. Some foods have particularly high levels of potassium. These include fruit, vegetables, coffee and chocolate.

What other advice can the dietitian give me?

Some patients with kidney failure feel nauseous and lose their appetite. This can lead them to eating less and weight loss. If you have this kind of problem your dietitian will be able to make suggestions to help you.

Will I need to restrict how much I drink?

Failing kidneys produce less urine. Therefore, it is important that the amount you drink matches the amount of urine that you pass. Your doctors and nurses should be able to tell you how much fluid you should drink. This is normally a smaller amount than you will be used to drinking. The dietitian can advise you on ways to make this a little easier. For example, reducing the amount of salt in the diet can help to reduce thirst.

How do I contact a dietitian?

Your dietitian will give you individual advice specific to your needs. If you have not been referred and think you need to be or if you have any queries about your diet, please contact a dietitian directly at:

The University Hospital of Wales

Tel: 01222 744294. Please ask for a ‘renal dietitian’.


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