Renal Diseases and Diet

Renal Diseases and Diet

Diet is crucial in treating renal diseases which include kidney disease, diseases of the genito-urinary tract, and the prostrate. If you have a serious renal disease, your doctor will probably refer you to clinical dietitian for advice concerning dietary changes. The allowable types and portion of foods differ depending upon the type and severity of the disorder. Healthy people should not wait for problems to occur, rather, they should eat to prevent kidney disorders. Drink plenty of liquids to flush the urinary system and replace fluids lost through perspiration and excretion. Eat a low-fat diet that emphasizes complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits.

Kidney stones are a fairly common condition in Bangladesh, though many cases are not reported, till the pain becomes acute. Most are formed of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate.Less commonly, stones may form from uric acid crystals especially in people with gout. A fourth type, cystine stones, occurs in fairly rare metabolic diseases. Regardless of the type of stone, it is essential to drink enough liquid to maintain fluid balance and flush way the minerals that accumulate to form stones. Phosphorus-rich foods contribute to the formation of calcium phosphate stones.

The balance of phosphorus and calcium in the diet is very delicate, however and restricting the intake of one may interfere with the other. A doctor's or dietitian's guidance is required. Cutting down on foods that are high in oxalate helps prevent calcium oxalate stones. Oxalate-rich foods include berries, grapes and citrus fruits; most of the dark-green leafy varieties of vegetables, the turnip family, beets, green peppers; and chocolate milk. Eliminating all of these foods depletes the diet of essential vitamins and minerals and a doctor or dietitian should provide a list of all the foods that can be eaten in moderation. Kidney stones are rare in people who are on a strict vegetarian diet. While the connection between stones and proteins is not fully understood, it is known that protein increases the acidity of urine which probably plays a role.

Nephritis, the inflammation of the kidney may not require special dietary measures. However, people with kidney infections should drink plenty of fluids to flush the system. A daily glass of cranberry juice helps to prevent the recurrence of many urinary tract infections in susceptible persons. Acute kidney failure may be caused by severe infections, burn, diarrhoea or vomiting, poisoning, surgery, or injury to the kidneys. Diet is extremely important in the management of kidney failure. The general recommendations include restricting protein, salt, phosphorus, and potassium. Fluids must be carefully monitored. Studies show that if protein intake is limited to one gram per kg of body weight per day, the patient on dyalisis will receive the essential amino acids needed to reduce the risk of further kidney damage. Proteins from fish, egg whites, and combination of legumes and grains are preferable to those from meat.

For a patient who has had a kidney transplant, in the weeks after the transplant, he is advised to eat more high-quality protein, such as eggs, lean meat, fish, poultry, skim milk, low-fat cheese. Complex carbohydrates from starchy foods are allowed but simple sugars are to be avoided. Salty foods, such as cured meats, smoked fish, and most processed foods should be eliminated and no salt added to foods during preparation or at the table. The doctor or dietitian will provide guidelines regarding potassium-rich foods. Potassium-rich foods are needed to maintain fluid balance and promote proper metabolism. Banana, citrus and dried fruits, legumes and vegetables, and whole-grain products provide potassium in necessary quantities.

Avoid salt in all cases to reduce fluid retention and prevent high blood pressure. Also avoid over-the-counter painkillers, vitamin pills, and calcium supplements which have side effects and interactions which may cause kidney damage or interfere with medications for kidney disease.

Another serious renal disease relates to the prostrate gland, its enlargement and cancer. Diet cannot cure prostrate problems, but it may play a role in maintaining the health of the gland, and it may also help prevent prostrate cancer. Tomatoes, red pomelo (jambura), watermelons, kalojam contain lycopene which reduces the risk of prostrate cancer. Other helpful foods to combat prostrate problems are vegetable oils, maragarine, wheat germ, whole-grain products, nuts and seeds for Vitamin E, fruits and vegetables for antoxidants, fish, shellfish, lean meat, yogurt, legumes for zinc. Tofu and other soy products appear to help prevent prostrate enlargement. Drink enough fluids to flush the bladder. Avoid caffeine, spicy foods, and other substances that irritate the urinary tract.

Dietary approaches can speed healing and help prevent recurrences of urinary tract infections. Doctors advice drinking eight glasses of fluids a day to increase the flow of urine and to flush our infectious material. Consume cranberry and kalojam juice to acidlifes the urine. Other foods to be taken in quantity include citrus and other fresh fruits, vegetables, high-calcium and lower fat dairy products.

Mahbub Husain Khan

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