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Kidney Disease: Changing Your Diet

When you have kidney disease, your kidneys are no longer working as well as they need to. Changing your diet can help protect your kidneys. It can also help you control other diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that can make kidney disease worse.

This topic can give you some general ideas about how to follow the diet your doctor or dietitian recommends.

Note: These diet tips are not for you if you are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant. Follow the special diet your doctor gave you.

Key points

  • Most people who have kidney disease need to limit salt (sodium), fluids, and protein. Some also have to limit potassium and phosphorus.
  • There is no one diet that is right for everyone who has kidney disease. Your doctor or dietitian can tailor a diet for you based on how well your kidneys are working.
  • It may be hard to change your diet. You may have to give up many foods you like. But it is very important to make the recommended changes so you can stay healthy for as long as possible.
  • You need to get enough calories to be healthy and have energy. If you have a hard time eating enough, talk to your doctor or dietitian about ways to add calories to your diet.
  • Your diet may change over time as your disease changes. See your doctor for regular testing, and work with a dietitian to adjust your diet as needed.

what.gif What foods do you need to limit?
why.gif Why should you follow a diet for kidney disease?
how.gif How to eat when you have kidney disease
where.gif Where to go from here

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ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMitchell H. Rosner, MD - Nephrology
Last RevisedMay 10, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 10, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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