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Answered by: Dr Sri Viknarajan
Doctor. I’m a patient with end stage renal failure. i’m on dialysis starting few weeks ago. Doctor ask me to maintain my diet that is high in protein. Can u explain more regarding this? Thank you doctor.
Hi, thank you for your question. Protein is essential for building muscles, repairing tissues, fighting off infection and staying healthy. Some amount of protein is lost during dialysis and thus a higher protein intake is needed to replace the lost. Eating the right amount of protein is crucial to prevent weight loss, muscle wasting, and inability to fight off infections, which eventually lead to malnutrition.
In general, protein sources can be divided into 2 categories: high-quality and low-quality proteins. For dialysis patients, high-quality proteins, such as meat, fish, poultry, egg whites and most dairy products (milk, cheese and yoghurt) are preferred. There are a few things to take note of. Avoid processed meats like hot dogs and canned meat containing large amounts of phosphorus and sodium.
Instead, you should opt for lean and low-fat meat that contain less phosphorus, for example, chicken, roast beef or fish. Milk is a good source of high-quality protein, but you should limit your milk intake because milk is high in potassium and phosphorus. It will add to your fluid intake as well. Intake of plant-based proteins like seeds, nuts and lentils should also be limited because they are high in potassium and phosphorus.
Too much phosphorus in your blood will pull calcium out of your bones and make them brittle. Usually, patients with renal failure go for dialysis 3 times a week. Your doctor may ask you to take phosphate binders to keep your phosphorus levels in your blood under control between dialysis sessions. This type of medicine acts like zip-lock bags.
It helps to “seal” the phosphorus from food and remove them through your stool so that phosphorus will not enter the bloodstream. The exact amount of protein you need to take will depend on your body size, nutritional status and overall health.
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