If you are a member of Club CKD or a caregiver of one, just like all of us here at Team ATK, you probably know a thing or two about how the Renal Diet is an essential part of the treatment approach towards Chronic Kidney Disease, whatever be the cause. Among tweaking other nutrients, lowering the intake of Potassium is an integral part of this CKD Diet.
WHAT IS POTASSIUM AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
SOUNDS IMPORTANT! WHY RESTRICT POTASSIUM IN OUR DIET DURING CKD?
In advanced stages of CKD (Stage 3 and beyond), our “unwell” kidneys gradually lose the ability to eliminate enough excess potassium from the body. As a result, our serum (blood) Potassium levels shoot-up beyond the normal safe limits of 3.5 – 5.2 mEq/L. (Fancy term: “Hyperkalemia”)
Untreated and sustained high potassium angers our hard-working heart. Result? An erratic heart-rhythm appears in return (you may feel sudden palpitations on your chest). Now, a normal heartbeat otherwise ensures smooth delivery of blood to other body parts. So imagine the “mess” an abnormal heartbeat can create! Sufferers include our nerves (you may feel “pins and needles” or weakness on your hands & feet), our muscles (unable to relax properly, muscles get tired-out easily) and our intestines / gut (could make you nauseous).
Hence, the directive to control potassium intake in a renal diet and adding medication if deemed necessary by your medical team.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO INITIATE A RENAL DIET PLAN?
It is best to consult a registered Renal Dietitian as soon as you are diagnosed with Kidney Disease. Such professionals specialize in nutritional requirements for kidney patients. They will guide you on all permissible nutritional intakes for kidney disease and provide you with a meal plan customized to your kidney function as evident in your blood-work.
However, incorporating such meal plans in your life needs some tips & tricks up your sleeve. That’s what today’s article aims to present before you.
To help you navigate through Potassium-control in your Renal Diet (CKD), presenting here, a series of Potassium Guide Graphics. Scroll along to learn what’s relevant & make a smooth transition to a Kidney-friendly lifestyle today.
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