Out of all the "problems" hemodialysis patients have, dieting is the most challenging. There are a lot of food that we cannot eat. This is one of the three things that a hemo patient should remember:
1. Eat the right KIND and AMOUNT of food.
2. Take the right medicine as PRESCRIBED by the doctor.
3. Do not miss out on hemo sessions.
There are diet considerations you have to remember when you are a hemo patient. You have to eat foods that are:
- adequate in protein
- adequate in calories
- low in potassium
- low in sodium
- low in phosphorus
- controlled fluid intake
Protein -- necessary for muscle build-up. Protein is lost during dialysis, so it is necessary to eat the RIGHT kind of protein. Since meat has high phosphorus content, I cannot eat meat (I have high phosphorus). I am only allowed poultry and fish.
Potassium -- high potassium can cause heart failure; thus fruits (including juices), and vegetables should be taken in moderation. I am a little guilty on this, because I am EXTREMELY addicted to green mangoes, and most sour foods. I will try to consolidate a list of low potassium fruits and veggies in my next post.
Phosphorus -- now, this one I am VERY mad about, because its side effects are nasty. Phosphorus takes away the calcium from your body, so it is necessary to take calcium supplements. High phosphorus levels cause eye irritation, ITCHINESS, and joint pain. Patients are now prescribed with phosphate binders that we have to take with every meal. It prevents phosphate to enter the bloodstream. If you have high phosphorus levels, these should be avoided:
- All sorts of seafood and sardines, anchovies, dried shrimp paste (bagoong)
- Dairy products e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt
- Bean products e.g. all forms of nuts, seeds, monggo
- Malted drinkse.g. Nesvita, Milo
- Oats, cereals
- Chocolate (guilty!)
- Organ meats e.g. liver, intestine
- Bone-based food e.g. chicken feet and pork bone
Sodium/Salt -- absorbs fluid thus adding to your gain, making you thirsty, can cause high blood pressure. Hmmmm..... I always have low blood pressure! Do I need salt, then? Ahahahahaha.
Fluid -- as dialysis patients cannot urinate anymore, or do but less, it is necessary to control your fluid intake. This includes water, tea, coffee, milk, juice, soup, juicy fruits, gravy, condiments, porridge, oatmeal, ice cube, ice cream, gelatine. High fluid intake can cause your body to swell or bloat. It can cause shortness of breath and high blood pressure.
Please note, however, that I am a hemodialysis patient, not a nurse, doctor, or nutritionist. What is indicated here are diet don'ts in general for hemo patients. It will take blood tests to figure out your levels and what should be really avoided. Your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist for a diet plan.
I have problems with diet lately, because I am gaining weight I have lost when I got the chicken pox. I am now eating a lot of rice! Every dialysis session I check my gain and it's 4 kilos or sometimes more! The ideal gain should be less than 2 kilos. This gain causes me to have difficulty during sessions like low blood pressure. I really should stop eating rice! Wah!!!
I still have high phosphorus, potassium, and uric acid levels. I am trying very hard to stay away from foods that have rich amounts of these, but sometimes, they cannot be avoided, i.e. no other food to eat, or you're in a party.
I do allow myself to cheat, but not too much. For example, when we have "nilagang baka," I only eat the vegetables and some soup. At least I still can taste the beef in it. The same with "sinigang na baboy."
I now miss eating peanut butter and nuts! I drool when there is shrimp on the table. I sigh when I see beef steak. Yes, these are some of the hardships a hemo patient goes, but still, I am thankful that I am alive.