Dialysis Patient Education

It is very important that all patients keep a close tab on their diet. With dialysis patients, any little change in what you eat can make a big difference. Here are a few tips from one of our dieticians on how a dialysis patient can make a difference.

Improve your PTH levels
 •Maintain your phosphorus level at 5.5 or below—this is the most effective way to help us manage your PTH level.
 •Attend all of your dialysis treatments. If you have Vitamin D (Zemplar or Hectoral) prescribed and you miss a treatment, you will also miss your Vitamin D dose. Vitamin D helps to maintain your PTH levels.
 •If you have Sensipar prescribed, make sure to take it daily. Sensipar will help manage your PTH level, as well as have a small lowering effect on your calcium and phosphorus levels.
 •Limit high calcium foods (especially foods that have calcium added). If your calcium level goes too high, your Vitamin D has to be stopped. Without the Vitamin D your PTH level will likely increase. Always read food labels for hidden sources of calcium and phosphorus!
 •If your PTH is low, consider switching to a binder that is not calcium-based (such as Renagel or Fosrenal). Talk to your dietitian about it!

Improve your KT/V
 •Come to all of your treatments.
 •Stay for the whole treatment time…minutes missed means minutes lost getting your blood cleaned.
 •Consider moving up a needle size (a bigger needle allows us to clean more of your blood, faster).
 •If you have a catheter consider getting an arm access as soon as possible (arm accesses normally allow your blood to be cleaned better than with a catheter).
 •Consider extending your treatment time by 15 minutes—you may feel a lot better for it!

Improve your Phosphorus
 •Take your binders every time you eat or as they are prescribed.
 •Take your binders at the beginning of a meal or snack (when you first start to eat).
 •Be aware of high phosphorus foods and limit or avoid them if possible.
 •Attend all of your dialysis treatments and make sure you stay for the whole treatment (cutting your time or missing treatments means phosphorus not being removed from your blood).
 •Remember to take your binders when you eat on-the-go or at a restaurant.
 •If you have trouble remembering to take your binders keep some where you normally eat as a visual reminder (kitchen table, chair-side table, nightstand). Always bring some binders to treatment—you never know when we will serve a treat or another patient will bring something to share.
 •Order or make sandwiches without cheese—you will save about 211 mg of phosphorus!
 •Read food labels. Look for food additives that have phosphorus, phosphoric acid or phosphates in the name—these will all increase your phosphorus levels. Read the food labels on the beverages you drink too, they can also have added phosphorus!

Improve your Albumin Levels
 •Make sure you eat enough protein and calories every day.
 •Watch your fluids…fluid overload causes a falsely low albumin.
 •Managing your diabetes (keeping blood sugars in the normal range) will help to improve albumin levels.
 •Take your sodium bicarbonate if you have it prescribed.
 •Consider a supplement (Boost, Ensure, Beneprotein, etc.) if you are not able to eat enough protein and calories daily.
 •If you can’t eat 3 regular sized meals daily, try 5-6 smaller, more frequent meals to help improve your overall food intake.
 •If you have frequent or ongoing symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation that is effecting your appetite, let us know so we can help find ways to decrease the symptoms.
 •Try to have some protein every time you eat.

Improve your Hematocrit
 •Attend all of your dialysis treatments—when you miss a treatment you also miss your Epogen dose.
 •Take your renal vitamin daily.
 •Avoid unnecessary blood loss! Be sure to take as much time as is needed for your access to stop bleeding after treatment.
 •Take your Coumadin exactly as it is prescribed (always take in the evening).

How to contact us

612 Roxbury Rd - Rockford, IL 61107 - phone 815-227-8300 - fax 815-227-8301