Kidney Disease

Information, Diet Suggestions, and Resources

what is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is a condition where the kidneys, which filter blood and produce urine, are not functioning properly. Kidney disease has several possible origins. It can be caused by abnormalities in the structures leading to the kidneys, including the blood vessels (prerenal), the structures within the kidneys, including the nephrons (intrarenal), or the structures leading out of the kidneys. Kidney disease is often caused by a blockage in the urinary system (postrenal). Its symptoms include fatigue, swelling (especially in the feet, ankles, hands and face), and changes in urination habits and quality of urine.

Kidney disease can be acute (temporary) or chronic (long term). Some risk  factors for developing acute kidney disease include infection and ingesting certain medications that can be toxic to the kidneys. When these problems are eliminated, acute kidney failure usually resolves. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, old age, family history of CKD, and racial or ethnic minority status. CKD can possibly lead to End Stage kidney disease. When this occurs, an external means of filtering the blood, called dialysis, is required.

Screening for kidney disease by blood test and urinalysis is recommended for  individuals who have diabetes and high blood pressure or who have “red flag”  symptoms that warrant further investigation.

The Diets

The recommended diet for individuals with kidney disease varies depending on the stage of kidney disease that an individual has and whether or not the person is on dialysis.

Diet- Kidney Disease-Non-Dialysis

Depending on your renal function, you will need to limit your daily sodium intake  to a range of between1500-2000mg of sodium per day. If your potassium and phosphate levels are high you should also limit your intake of foods high in potassium and phosphate. Other requirements for dietary modifications for patients with kidney disease are on an individual basis. Some patients may need to limit their daily protein intake as well. A physician or dietician will help you to design a diet that will help you to treat your kidney disease.

Some individuals with advanced Chronic Kidney Disease may also need to limit their fluid intake. This is because the kidneys are not functioning optimally to remove excess fluid in the body as they did before the onset of the disease. As a result, extra fluid builds up in the body and can lead to swelling in the extremities. Fluid restriction in individuals with CKD is determined on an individual basis, but people with end stage kidney disease often cannot drink more than 32 oz of liquid a day.

Diet- Individuals With Kidney Disease- On Dialysis

If you are on dialysis, you may need to increase your intake of protein through protein supplements in addition a diet of between 8-10 ounces of high protein foods per day. See your physician and dietitian for a personalized plan for your dietary and vitamin needs while you are on dialysis.


For additional information and resources regarding Kidney Disease visit: