Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Renal Pre-Dialysis

When your kidneys start to fail, you don’t immediately go on dialysis.  You have a period of time before your kidney function gets to the point that you have to resort to that step.  If you have concerns about renal pre-dialysis, you need to understand it first of all. 

When you have kidney problems, you are in need of understanding about how your kidneys work and what you need to do to improve their function.  Maybe you also need to understand that you CAN improve their function.  All is not lost.  Kidney disease is a highly complicated disease that affects a lot of the systems of the body.  Depending on the "stage" for kidney disease, you not have to control your protein as tightly.  Stages 1 & 2 are going to be less restrictive on protein but as you get to Stage 3 & 4, you will need to limit the protein you eat to not continue the damage that is being done to your kidneys.  You see, you have a window of time to improve your kidney function with diet.  

What is kidney function?  It’s what your doctor is talking about when he measures your BUN and creatinine clearance to see how well your body is able to handle the food that you are eating.  Your kidneys are your body’s filter.  Think about a filter, it is made to let some things through and other things remain unable to go through.  Just like any other filter, your kidneys let the “bad things” – blood urea nitrogen (urine) and extra salts and fluid out, while keeping in your red blood cells and other “good things” that are in your blood.  It does this at a very microscopic level.  It has done this your entire life, but things like diabetes, high blood pressure, amongst other things, do damage over time at the cellular level where the filter is working and your filter stops working as well.
What that means is, as your cells are damaged, they either let out too much or don’t work at all and levels of certain types of blood chemicals – like blood urea nitrogen (BUN) – get higher because your kidneys can’t filter them out.  This is how you know that your kidneys are damaged.  And as the amount of protein they let out and BUN that they keep in goes higher, you get your stage of kidney disease.  Which means, what percentage of your kidneys are working or not.  

Now, to the best part – when you are here – before you have dialysis, you can stop the damage, possibly reverse the damage, but at the very least you can stop it.  If you are cooking for someone who needs help with their renal pre-dialysis understanding, you can cook your way to better health.  Healthier meals are what you need.  You can limit the amount of salt and protein that you eat, and yet still eat enough of other foods so that you are not starving.  

You see, a pre-dialysis renal diagnosis is like a wake up call.  It’s a chance to change things that are going in the wrong direction, even if you have not managed to do it before.  You may be on medications to lower your blood pressure and even control diabetes if you have it, but this will not be enough if you have a need to stop the progression of renal predialysis.  You need to change some things about your diet to improve your health.

If you want to learn more about a renal predialysis diet, then you can read more in our article on renal pre-dialysis diets at our website –

How Do I Know I Have Renal Diabetes?

Renal diabetes is the condition when you have both kidney problems and you have diabetes.  It's a hard problem to work on your own.  You know that you have been managing your diabetes for a while - or maybe you have not been working on your diabetes for years?  Part of managing your diabetes is knowing what to eat and when to eat it in conjunction with your diabetes.  When you have had diabetes for a while, you tend to develop complications, one of which is nephropathy or kidney disease as well.

Diabetes is a blood sugar problem and kidney disease is a protein problem that causes you to lose too much protein out of your body.  When you add them together, you have more than you can usually handle.  It's hard to understand how to add protein restriction to your diet.  But more than that - it's understanding what types of foods are going to affect you and your blood sugar. 

Kidney disease is a highly complicated disease that affects a lot of the systems of the body.  So does diabetes.  Diabetes can affect your eyes, your kidneys, your feet and other nerves.  So over time, when your diabetes has been out of control, you have allowed it to damage these organs in your body.  About 50% of people who are diagnosed with kidney disease have diabetes as the root cause. 
Therefore, as a diabetic, it's important to manage how much starchy types of foods that you eat.  Those carbohydrates are essential in the management of diabetes.  Eat too much, and your blood sugar is high.  Eat too little and you are risking a low blood sugar.  What's a person to do?  Eat a smaller portion of carbohydrate at each meal.  But before you start talking about your renal diabetes and how it affects you, lets understand that I think it's important to get your diabetes under control.  If you have a high HGA1C, ask your doctor how to adjust to the changes that you need to make to keep the blood sugar in the right range.  

Eating a lower carbohydrate diet is fine in this circumstance if you don't mind the food being repeated.  But most people are searching for an answer that is quick and easy - and lower cost.  Depending on the "stage" for kidney disease, you may be able to not control your protein as tightly.  Stages 1 & 2 are going to be less restrictive on protein but as you get to Stage 3 & 4, you will need to limit the protein you eat to not continue the damage to your kidneys.

As you start down this road, getting your blood sugars under control is the one thing that will help you with kidney disease.  If you have diabetes that is well controlled, then you can move on to figuring out how much protein to eat.  IF you don’t have your diabetes under good control, you should start there.  A good renal diabetic diet will keep you on track to control both of these.  Knowing what is carbohydrate and what is protein is ultimately the information that will help you get your diet under good control.  While you can learn this on a renal diabetic diet, you also should be aware of some of the more complex parts of a renal diabetic diet that make it a little harder than a normal diabetic diet to manage.  

In all seriousness, you likely have not had good diabetes control, and now you are wondering how you will manage a renal diabetic diet.  You do know now that it is very important to control a couple of factors related to your diet, and that is what you must do to keep yourself healthy.
If you want to learn more about a renal diabetic diet, then you can read more in our article on renal diabetic diets at our website –