Select quality proteins

SURVIVAL TIP: Learn why all protein sources are not the same quality. Some have excessive sodium, phosphorus or fat. In addition, too much protein can stress your kidneys.

PSalmonrotein is important to your body because it helps build and repair cells and fight infection. Protein also contributes to healthy muscles, organs, glands, and skin.

Dialysis causes protein loss
You lose protein through dialysis, so be particularly aware of good protein sources in your daily diet. Dialysis can require an increase in eating protein such as meat or fish. Continue reading

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How and why do you manage potassium?

SURVIVAL TIP: Most foods from the garden or grove have potassium. Learn which sources boast the most. Bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, and mushrooms are packed with the potassium, as are many fruits.

Carrots and TomatoesDialysis patients must manage how much potassium they consume. This mineral affects cell, nerve, and muscle function.1 Potassium also affects heart rhythm, and too much or too little potassium can cause heart failure. Continue reading

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Limiting phosphorus requires attention

SURVIVAL TIP: Managing what you eat to keep labs within range is critical. Several elements of your blood work affect your health and must be observed for you to remain well. If you have diabetes, you must manage your sugar levels, too. Keeping your labs within range can require a delicate balance in your diet.

Prior to beginning dialysis, you might have already watched sugar or sodium intake. After your kidneys begin to fail, your doctor begins to watch the phosphorus, potassium, protein, calcium, and sodium bicarbonate in your blood. Most of these levels are managed by diet. Continue reading

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Soup, sauces, gelatin, fluids add up

SURVIVAL TIP: Manage your fluid intake to feel your best between treatments.

Chicken SoupMost dialysis patients make little or no urine. Reduced urine output is often the first symptom people notice as they suffer kidney failure. Other patients, especially those diagnosed early from blood work, might notice no real change in their bathroom visits. The latter group has dialysis more for the purpose of cleaning the blood than removing fluid that fills the tissues and causes swelling. Continue reading

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Avoid these tricky candies and treat your kidneys with good snacks

SURVIVAL TIP: Halloween and other holidays where eating is central to the celebration can be difficult for kidney patients, but your clinic nutritionist can help you make wise decisions.

GumdropsDo you still have Halloween candy around the house? Or worse, did you take advantage of the candy sales Tuesday? This post reveals the phosphorus (Phos) and potassium (K) content of many snacks. Remember that these amounts of phosphorus and potassium reflect the package size listed, so eating more than what’s posted can quickly increase how much of these minerals you consume.

Is your favorite Halloween candy below? What can you substitute for your favorite candy? Let us know in the comments below about your best kidney-friendly treats.

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Surprises continue as long as you dialyze

SURVIVAL TIP: Dialysis hasn’t changed much in the past 40 years, but the clinic and corporate rules change from time to time. Try to accept that dialysis and the procedures at dialysis are beyond your control. Calm yourself as best you can and discuss difficulties or displeasure with appropriate staff.
Nurse with patient

Image courtesy of chubphong at

After months and years of dialysis, patients think they understand all of the procedure’s ins and outs. But surprises come up, no matter how long you’ve been on dialysis. Continue reading

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Each unit follows different protocols

SURVIVAL TIP: When you plan to visit another dialysis clinic, call to verify seat availability. Then call your scheduling coordinator or main scheduling department. The clinic coordinator (usually the administrative assistant) will let you know if your request was approved and the time of your first appointment. The clinic coordinator generally reviews paperwork with you at the facility.

            While all clinics must follow the same state and federal laws, every unit is different. When you know Continue reading

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