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Info & Treatments for Kidney Stones & Kidney Disease

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CKD is chronic kidney disease, and a CKD diet is a diet that is designed either to prevent or, if already suffering from chronic kidney disease, to treat the affliction.


What Is CKD


Chronic kidney disease is a progressive loss of kidney function over time. It may be caused by many different things, of which the two most common causes are diabetes and high blood pressure. These are both major risk factors for developing the disease, and so any dietary regimen that helps to keep blood pressure low or to prevent or treat diabetes is also useful for prevention of kidney disease.

The kidneys process blood to remove impurities and excess water, depositing these substances in urine and expelling them from the body through the urinary tract. A sufferer of chronic kidney disease experiences loss of kidney function over time and the accumulation of toxic substances in the blood and in the body. If the disease progresses to the stage of significant or near-complete loss of kidney function, it becomes life-threatening and requires dialysis for survival and a kidney transplant for recovery.

In addition to dietary measures that can help lower blood pressure or remove the risk factors for diabetes, there are specific dietary regimens that can be used to treat chronic kidney disease itself in the early stages. It is also used in conjunction with dialysis, with some modifications, in the later stages of the disease.


Continued below....

Diet


A CKD diet is designed to maintain a balance of fluids, minerals, and electrolytes in patients suffering from CKD or who are on dialysis. Later-stage sufferers on dialysis have a particular problem in that they urinate very little or not at all (the dialysis treatments serve the same function as natural urination), and so limiting buildup of wastes in the blood and of excess liquid is extremely important.

Carbohydrates


A CKD diet may be low or high in carbohydrates depending on whether the patient also suffers from diabetes or obesity. Overweight patients need to lose weight and diabetics need to be careful about carbohydrate intake and in either case the diet should be lower in carbohydrates than otherwise.

Otherwise, a CKD diet is typically low in protein and therefore a good intake of carbohydrates is important as a source of calories. Carbohydrates include, basically, anything sweet or starchy. Sweet carbohydrates (fruit, sugar, candy, etc.) are "simple" carbohydrates, while starches (grains, potatoes, and many other vegetables) are "complex" carbohydrates. Carbohydrate foods, especially fruit, vegetables and whole grains, also supply dietary fiber and many important vitamins and minerals.

Fats


A CKD diet should
limit fat intake and make certain that fats ingested lean towards monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are fats from vegetable sources that have not been artificially "hydrogenated" -- chemically processed to be solid at room temperature. These fats, and avoiding saturated fats from animal sources or chemically processed vegetable oils, are important because atherosclerosis and high cholesterol are both risk factors for CKD (as well as for other illnesses such as cardiovascular disease).

Protein


Although some protein in the diet is necessary for tissue repair and growth, most protein in a normal diet is actually metabolized as calories. Except for fat, protein is the richest source of energy in food. It's possible to be healthy on a much lower level of protein consumption than is typical in the meat-eating West, and for treatment of CKD this is desirable.

However, there's a big difference here between a diet to treat the early stages of CKD and what's appropriate for a patient on dialysis. Dialysis patients are often prescribed a high-protein diet with fish, lean meat, or eggs in every meal. This is because dialysis often results in a loss of muscle tissue which a high-protein diet helps to replace.

Minerals


Of minerals, sodium is in a class by itself.
Reducing sodium intake (which usually means reducing salt consumption) can help reduce blood pressure and also help control the tendency to drink too much water, which is important in the later stages of CKD especially if the patient is on dialysis.

Other than sodium, the main thing to avoid in a CKD diet in terms of minerals is consuming too much
phosphorous. Because dairy products are rich in this mineral, reducing dairy intake is often recommended. As this may eliminate an important source of calcium, another crucial mineral, calcium supplements may be prescribed to make up the deficiency; there are also vegetable sources of calcium which do not contain the high levels of phosphorous that dairy products do.

Potassium is another mineral that needs to be monitored closely. It's necessary for health, but can cause problems due to buildup in the blood when the kidneys don't function well. Foods rich in potassium should therefore be limited.

Iron intake should be increased for patients on dialysis; otherwise normal intake of iron should be fine for patients with CKD.

Fluids


In the earlier stages of CKD and as a preventative, it's important to drink plenty of water. Inadequate water consumption is a contributor to kidney stones, which are one of the causes of CKD. Patients on dialysis, however, need to reduce water consumption as fluid can tend to build up in the body between dialysis sessions and potentially be life-threatening.


CKD Diet

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