My mother-in-law is a renal patient and I will be cooking for her. It seems that things listed as OK for low potassium diet are not OK for low phosphorus diet and vice versa. Does anyone have a diet that is low in both?
There are no easy answers. My mother has been on dialysis for 8 years. In truth, the kidneys maintain a very delicate balance of many nutrient and chemical levels in the body, along with producing the hormone responsible for telling our bodies when to make blood. It's a delicate balancing act and when the kidneys fail, and one gets out of kilter, it's a domino effect. Dialysis can deplete the system of many things, such as folic acid, and yet there is a tendency to retain other things, such as Vitamin C, phosphorous, and potassium. Potassium helps to control magnesium levels and therefore is vital to heart function. High potassium can lead to heart problems and confusion, loss of focus, and even acute psychosis at 6.0 or above. High phosphorous can affect the parathyroid gland (causing hyperparathyroidism), as well as blood calcium levels, leading to osteoporosis, brittle and weak bones, and also painful calcium deposits on extremities. Being as blood calcium is also the 'conductor' for electrical impulses, too much in the blood stream can cause nervousness, twitching, and itching, among other things.
At dialysis, they usually have a nutrionist on retainer. The best you can usually do is ask for a consultation and go over extensively the options that fit your family's needs. Don't be afraid to ask questions. That's what they are there for. They can usually give you print outs on low phosphorous and low potassium diets and also how to spot the high concentration foods as well. Cross reference them both and see what fits. It will take time and effort, but it's for a worthy cause. No one wants to feel sick and bad all the time... and that is exactly what will happen if a dialysis patient fails to show attention to their diet. It will make a big difference in the quality of life.
And remember, little things here and there (substitutions, better choices) really do add up and make a difference. Concentrate on protein at every meal, since that seems to be something that suffers most. Protein will flush the muscles and tissues of bulit up fluid and pass it into the bloodstream where it can be dialyzed off, and will reduce fatigue and weakness, and in turn, stimulate appetite.
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