Kidney Diet Tips

The Effects of Missed Dialysis Treatments

The holidays are a busy time of year. Your calendar may be full with gatherings, festivities, social events and more. In the rush of the holiday season, you may wonder if missing dialysis treatments is really that harmful. The truth is that missing dialysis treatments can have a negative impact on your nutrition and lifestyle.

What happens if I miss treatment?

Between dialysis treatments, toxins can build up in your blood and make you sick. You can reduce toxin buildup by controlling what you eat and drink and getting dialysis treatment as prescribed by your doctor. What you eat and drink is associated with what your dialysis treatments remove. For example, if you have a very salty meal and drink more, you may have blood pressure fluctuations or cramping during treatment due to the extra fluid being removed.

Some foods can cause toxins to build up quickly between your dialysis sessions. If your blood contains too much waste, your dialysis treatment may not remove them all.

Foods and beverages to limit or avoid include those high in: 

  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Fluid

Another purpose of dialysis is to remove water from the body, since kidney function is impaired. However, dialysis can only remove a limited amount of fluid safely per treatment. If you come to dialysis treatment with too much fluid in your body, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • Swelling and weight gain between dialysis sessions
  • Belly bloating
  • Changes in blood pressure; a sudden drop can cause you to feel dizzy or nauseous
  • Enlarged heart, leading to heart failure
  • A buildup of fluid in the lungs, making it hard to breathe
  • Feeling ill
  • Muscle cramping

Every treatment is important

It is very important not to skip treatment. Having toxins removed from your body is essential to help  make sure you feel well every day, which is especially important around the holidays. If you are unable to make your scheduled dialysis treatment, please communicate with your DaVita care team to reschedule your treatment.

Your dietitian and doctor can help determine how much liquid you can consume each day to meet your needs. Also speak with your dietitian for more nutrition information on which foods and beverages are right for you to help control fluid, potassium, phosphorus and sodium in your diet.


Eating & Nutrition for Hemodialysis. Accessed on 10/3/2022.

Excess Fluid: How It Can Impact Heart Health. DaVita, Inc. Accessed 10/3/2022.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                       

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

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.

Justine Magallanez, MS, RDN, LDN

Justine Magallanez, MS, RDN, LDN

Justine, a registered dietitian for 7 years, is a DaVita renal dietitian. She has experience in long term care and menu planning, and is passionate about her experience in oncology nutrition. She is a native Texan living with her husband and young son. When Justine is not working, she enjoy gardening, reading and paddle boarding.