How proper diet can save you from dialysis?

You might be already familiar with kidney transplants and dialysis. According to an estimate around 1.8 lakh, people suffer from kidney failure every year, and only 6000 transplants are done in a year. 

This alarming statistic lays importance on two points:

First is the importance of organ donation and secondly the number of people who get affected.

As a nephrologist working with a kidney hospital in Vadodara, I can see patients daily who are barely in their late forties and suffering from kidney failure. 

I have observed that people turn to kidney specialists in Vadodara, only when they are experiencing acute symptoms. I would like to add that after age 45 you should get your LIPID profile done at least once a year. That can give you an indication of if the problem is approaching. 

In case your reports are not favorable you can always approach a kidney care hospital at Vadodara like ours. At this stage, I would like to make you aware of how kidney failure or kidney problems crop up and the dinner diet which you should consider if you are having a kidney disease.

At Janvi Multispeciality hospital, Vadodara, we adopt a holistic approach. Rather than giving you medicines to lower the creatinine levels or suggesting dialysis directly, we suggest lifestyle changes, diet changes that can bring your creatinine levels to normal without medication.

We try to work on kidneys to improve their function by lowering the abnormal levels rather than bypassing them and shifting to dialysis.

What contributes to kidney diseases?

The factors that contribute to kidney-related diseases include

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • High BP

How to avoid kidney diseases?

If you control just the 5 S’s in your life then you can stay away from the kidney diseases

The Golden 5 S’s to stay away from kidney diseases include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Stress
  • Smoking

So today I wish to share with you the perfect diet plan which works wonders for lowering the creatinine levels and other abnormal levels that affect the kidney. Also, I’ll share the warning signs that you should look into to diagnose kidney disease before matters get worse.

Before I give you a perfect diet plan, I’ll list each component of blood that needs to be in control in case of a kidney patient and then I’ll share with you how you can achieve this.

To control your kidney disease, you can either control the intake of food or control how it is expelled out from your body. In our Kidney care hospital in Vadodara, we often advise the patients to follow a strict diet. That helps to eliminate 50% of the problems.

We cannot control how our body removes toxins from our body and hence we recommend you to control the diet.

As a doctor working with the best kidney hospital in Vadodara, I recommend you to follow the below diet plan to control kidney disease.

Ways to Control different components in food

1. Creatinine

Creatinine is a waste product that comes from the normal wear and tear of muscles and is excreted in the urine. When our body cannot excrete this through the urine, then creatinine rises.

This is the first sign of damage to the kidneys. You cannot control how your body will excrete creatinine, but as a kidney specialist in Vadodara, I aim to guide you to follow such a diet that will produce less creatinine in your body.

If you try to understand, creatinine is produced due to excess protein in the body. Proteins are hard to digest and the waste product generated in the digestion of proteins gives rise to creatinine.

Some of the proteins that you can eat are:
Egg whites
Half bowl of Moong Dal (yellow moong dal without the cover)

If the patient is healthy he can take a protein-free diet but if the patient is weak and does not have proper weight then he/she needs to intake proteins that can be easily absorbed by the body.

The surprising fact is that if a body needs protein then it can prepare it on its own from the different kinds of food that you intake.

If your creatinine levels are high then you should not exercise vigorously. Because this can lead to the production of creatinine.

You should avoid long journeys because if you are seated in the same place for a long time then it causes pressure on that particular muscle and gives rise to creatinine.

2. Potassium

Our body needs potassium to function properly. It is a type of electrolyte that helps in the functioning of nerves and helps the muscles to contract.

High levels of potassium develop fatigue in muscles and affect the heart. If the level of potassium is greater than 7.0 mmol/L then there is a risk of a heart attack. At this level even if your creatinine levels are normal, we need to do dialysis to save you from a heart attack.

We get potassium from the food that we eat. To control it you cut the vegetables into very small parts 1/8th inch thick, then wash them with warm water.

Soak them in warm water for two to three hours and later cook them with plenty of water. This will drain the phosphorus out of the vegetables.

Apart from that, you need to avoid all vegetables that grow under the ground (except onion, carrot, and radish) and avoid green leafy vegetables. You can only eat the vegetables that grow on the plants.

For example, you can eat parval, Bitter gourd(karela), bhindi, tomato, dudhi, brinjal, etc. Tomatoes contain oxalates so if you don’t have kidney stones then you can eat them.

In the case of fruits try to avoid banana, kiwi, dry fruits, and dates/khajoor. You can eat other fruits in limited quantities like 1 cup a day.

3. Hemoglobin

In the case of a patient with kidney failure, Hb levels continue to fall drastically. Our kidneys prepare two hormones, Vitamin D and erythropoietin.

This is the hormone that makes RBCs for our body. If the kidneys are damaged then they cannot make this hormone and as a result, the hemoglobin levels fall.

To assist your body in making hemoglobin, you can drink the juice of pomegranate or eat pomegranate (WITHOUT SEEDS)

You should intake pomegranate only if your potassium levels are between 4 to 4.5 mmol/L. This can help to increase Hb and lower blood pressure.

4. Sodium

High salt intake gives rise to high BP and also causes swelling on the foot. Such patients should avoid eating salt in food.

High BP can further increase the problems of the kidneys.

So depending on what symptoms you are observing you can alter your diet accordingly. You’ll be surprised to know that we can win half the battle against kidney failure only by following a proper diet.

What should be a dinner diet for a kidney failure patient?

You can eat as many wheat chapatis as you want. You can eat vegetables that contain less potassium. If your BP is in control then you can eat salt in food else avoid it.

You should prefer rock salt. You can eat rice if you don’t have diabetes. In case you have diabetes you should avoid eating rice. You may use unpolished rice or brown rice.

In case you wish to eat fruits then you can eat suggested fruits only to the extent of 1 cup in a whole day.

So now that you know what kind of food you should eat if you have a kidney problem, here are a few pointers that can point to a probable problem.

Early warning signs of a kidney problem

  • Swelling on legs
  • Puffing around the eyes
  • Weakness that leads to easy fatigue
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Early morning nausea and vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Change in urine frequency
  • Foamy urine
  • Change in the color and the consistency of the urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • High BP
  • Dry Itchy skin

Final Words

Now that you know what kind of diet is the best for your kidneys, it is purely in your hands to improve their function. Depending on what component in your blood is creating the problem, whether it is due to creatinine or sodium, or potassium, you can suitably alter the diet.

It is important to note that kidney failure is not the end of life. We have options. It’s always better if you do preventive checkups at least once a year after age 45. In this way, we can catch the problem early. I hope to see you all in perfect health.

So when are you going for a preventive check-up for kidney assessment?

About Dr Mahav Tamanhkar

Dr. Madhav Tamhankar is a Nephrologist/Renal Specialist working at Janvi Multispeciality Hospital in Vadodara and has experience of 8 years in this field. He completed DNB – General Medicine from the National Board of Examination in 2010 and DNB – Nephrology from the National Board of Examination in 2015. (ECFMG Certified)

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