Kidney Diet Tips

Peritoneal Dialysis: Need more Potassium?

When it comes to kidney disease, there are a lot of “P” words which have specific nutrition recommendations . . . protein, phosphorus, potassium . . . sound familiar? Let me add in yet another “P” word, peritoneal dialysis or PD for short. It starts to get confusing after a while! The focus of this post is why PD patients may need more potassium.

Peritoneal Dialysis

With PD treatments, fluid and potassium are removed daily versus three times a week on in-center hemodialysis. PD treatments also remove protein. For these reasons, the PD diet is often less restrictive than the hemodialysis diet. More potassium is allowed–and may be essential to good health. Refer to my past blog post “Dialysis Diet to Match Your Treatment Type” for more information.

Potassium Functions

Potassium is a mineral which is plays a role in:

  • regulating muscle contraction
  • maintaining healthy blood pressure
  • sending electrical signals in the body
  • balancing fluid levels

The goal for dialysis patients is to keep potassium within 3.5-5.5 mg/dl. When levels are too high or too low, it will affect how your heart beats. PD patients lose more potassium through daily treatments and through their urine if producing it. Because of this they are often encouraged to eat more potassium by including more high potassium foods. See the DaVita.com article “Potassium and Peritoneal Dialysis” for more information.

Food Sources for more potassium

Most dialysis guidelines are written with hemodialysis dietary guidelines in mind. If you are a PD patient, make sure that the dietary recommendations are specific for PD. Most PD diets will include information on some higher potassium food sources to include in your diet.

Some examples of high potassium containing foods include:

  • Milk, yogurt, chocolate, nuts, seeds
  • Fruits: avocado, banana, cantaloupe, dates, honeydew melon, kiwi, nectarine, orange, papaya, persimmons, prunes, raisins
  • Vegetables: artichokes, bamboo shoots, beets, cooked greens, kohlrabi, potato, rutabaga, spinach, succotash, sweet potato, tomato (tomato sauce), winter squash
  • Beverages: carrot juice, orange juice, prune juice, tomato juice

For PD patients, it is important to get enough potassium in your diet. This will help keep your potassium levels from becoming too low. If your levels become too low, your physician may prescribe a potassium supplement in addition to a diet with more potassium.

Your dialysis dietitian will help you find the right amount of high potassium foods to include in your diet. Explore the DaVita Diet Helper Food Analyzer to discover the potassium content of foods you like eat. For kidney-friendly recipes, visit DaVita.com to access over 1,000 kidney diet recipes.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Carisa Ishimaru, RD, LDN

Carisa Ishimaru, RD, LDN

Carisa has been a registered dietitian for over 20 years. She is currently a Renal Dietitian for a Home Program which allows patients to do their dialysis at home via Peritoneal Dialysis or Home Hemodialysis. She is passionate about providing research-based information in a practical, easy to use format. Carisa enjoys cooking and baking healthful foods for her family and friends.