Chronic Kidney Disease affects about one in 10 Americans. You might get kidney disease if you have trouble controlling your high blood pressure or diabetes. If you find out you have stage 3 CKD, there are steps you can take to prevent it from getting worse. You just may need to watch what you eat. While following a special diet probably won't cure your CKD, you may avoid a need for dialysis in the future.
Sodium or Salt
Staying away from the salt shaker not only keeps your heart healthy, it keeps your kidneys healthy, too. Use of salt can lead to high blood pressure, which damages the tiny vessels in your kidneys. If you already have stage 3 kidney disease, staying away from salt is even more important to prevent any further damage. Salt might cause you to retain fluid in your body, especially in your hands and feet. This swelling is called edema. Avoid processed foods and that pesky drive-thru, and don't add salt to your foods. Also avoid salt substitutes, which may contain potassium chloride, marketed as a salt substitute; it may hurt your kidneys.
Your doctor or dietitian might talk to you about limiting your protein. Protein is found in meat, eggs, dairy, fish, legumes, whole grains and some vegetables. You need protein to build muscles and maintain health, but when you have CKD, the excess protein gets filtered by your kidneys and becomes uric acid, a compound in urine. This makes your kidneys work harder. Protein needs vary, but the average-sized woman should try not to eat more than 6 ounces of protein daily. Three ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Stay away from protein-filled smoothies and supplements because they have large amounts of protein, which can damage your kidneys.
High blood sugar can damage your kidney's vessels in the same way that high blood pressure can. If you have diabetes, you need to keep it under control, especially if that's what caused your kidney disease. Aim for blood sugars between 80 and 150 milligrams per deciliter, and even though the finger prick isn't pleasant, test your blood sugar after each meal. If you find that yours is running high after meals, either cut down on your carbohydrates or speak with your doctor about changing medications. Prevention really is the best medicine for CKD.
Manufacturers add preservatives to foods to make them last longer and taste better. If you have CKD, though, some of these preservatives may build up in your blood and worsen your renal function by making your kidneys do more work. Potassium, a nutrient usually found in fruits and vegetables, is often added to foods to make them last longer and as a substitute for sodium, or regular salt. Look for "Potassium Chloride" on food labels and avoid it. Phosphorus additives are also pesky, unhealthy preservatives in foods that may worsen your CKD. Look for the prefix or suffix "phos" on labels, and avoid it as much as possible.
Samantha Scruggs is a registered dietitian who is passionate about nutrition, healthy living and exercise. She works in a clinic with dialysis patients. Scruggs earned a bachelor's degree in public health nutrition from the University of North Carolina.