Menu Planning for a Diabetic Dialysis Patient

Diabetes and kidney disease, sadly, have a close relationship. Diabetes damages the kidneys, sometimes causing them to fail and necessitating dialysis. Dialysis is an artificial replacement of normal kidney function in which a patient is attached---usually three times a week or more---to a machine that does the kidneys' job of removing waste from the blood. Diet is critical for diabetics and doubly so for diabetics in dialysis.

  1. Damage to Kidneys

    • The American Diabetes Association says that high blood sugar levels overwork the kidneys, very often leading to failure and the need for dialysis. However, if you catch kidney disease before it has progressed too far, there are treatments that can slow its progress, giving you more years of normal kidney function. Once the kidneys fail, your only immediate option is dialysis.

    Diabetic Dietary Tips

    • If you're diabetic, you already know that you must be careful about the foods you eat, because your body does not do an efficient job of regulating blood glucose levels. This means you must avoid certain foods that significantly spike glucose levels and cause problems. The general dietary guidelines for diabetics, according to MedlinePlus, call for eating smaller meals more often, sharply limiting sweets and alcoholic beverages, keeping track of your carbohydrate intake, eating less fat, and adding more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods to your diet.

    Dialysis Methods

    • According to MayoClinic.com, there are two major methods of dialysis for patients with kidney failure: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis, the more widely used method, involves connecting you, via a major vein, to a machine that can filter the blood and remove waste products. In peritoneal dialysis, your body's own peritoneal membrane does the filtering, aided by special solutions that are introduced into the abdominal cavity to help remove toxins.

    Diet for Dialysis

    • The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse offers general guidelines to help you plan meals to maximize the effects of dialysis. Limit fluid intake to avoid increases in blood pressure. Because it's important to limit your intake of phosphorus, potassium and salt while on dialysis, carefully screen processed foods to avoid those with large amounts of these substances. To keep up your strength, consume lots of protein, but because of diabetic considerations, you'll want to make sure it's high-quality protein you're eating. Good choices include lean meats, fish, poultry and eggs.

      KidneySchool.org suggests this sample menu for a typical day. You start with a breakfast consisting of two eggs, scrambled; a slice of white toast with two teaspoons of margarine; four ounces of cranberry juice; and eight ounces of coffee or tea. For lunch you can have three ounces of turkey on two slices of sourdough bread with a tablespoon of mayonnaise and a leaf of lettuce, along with a medium tangerine and four ounces of Diet Sprite. Dinner might be four ounces of oven-baked chicken; a half-cup of mashed potatoes with two teaspoons of margarine; a half-cup each of carrots and applesauce; and four ounces of an artificially sweetened beverage.

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