Kidney Diet Tips


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Emergency Dialysis Diet: 4 Most Important Aspects

Are you aware of the need for an emergency dialysis diet? No matter where you live, natural disasters are bound to happen. It is scary for everyone when a disaster threatens or actually hits your area. It’s even scarier when you’re a dialysis patient.

There’s bound to be uncertainty around the situation during and following an event. You can take steps to help make sure you are better prepared for an emergency. Hopefully that can help ease some of the stresses of the situation.

Your home dialysis clinic will provide information to help you prepare for a natural disaster. Read the information provided so you know what to do. Part of the information provided covers your diet during emergencies. The most important aspects of your diet if a natural disaster threatens or hits are the following:

  1. Limit potassium intake
  2. Limit sodium intake
  3. Limit fluid intake
  4. Make sure you eat good protein sources

A low potassium diet is so important during this time because high potassium levels (above 5.5 mEq/L) may be life threatening. Potassium is found primarily in fruits, vegetables and dairy foods. Your dietitian will provide a list of high potassium foods. They will review the list with you and answer your questions if you need a refresher.

Limiting sodium is important because sodium contributes to fluid retention. If you aren’t able to dialyze on your regular schedule and you become fluid overloaded you may experience breathing difficulties. If this occurs you should go to the emergency room for treatment. To help prevent this it is necessary to limit your fluid intake. The recommended fluid intake is 32 ounces of fluid (4 cups) per day or less. Fluid includes anything that is liquid at room temperature such as ice, popsicles, ice cream, Jell-O®, soup and beverages.  Your dietitian can provide information on sodium and fluid as well as answer questions you may have.

A supply of shelf stable protein sources is also important during this time. Stock up on peanut butter, unsalted canned chicken, tuna or salmon. Even low-sodium canned beans (black beans, pinto beans, etc.) provide protein. These foods are OK to eat since they are a good protein sources that don’t require refrigeration in the event you lose electricity. As always, your dialysis team is available to answer any questions. Stay safe!

For additional emergency dialysis diet information read Emergency Preparedness for People with Kidney Disease.

Laura Poenicke, RD LD/N

Laura enjoys spending time with her 2 little ones. In the little bit of extra time she has, she likes to exercise and bake. Laura has been a dietitian for 7 years and a mom for 2 years.