Wisconsindialysis.org referred to phosphorus as the "Silent Killer." Fresenius Medical Care Inc. (Largest Dialysis Organization in the U.S.) calls the mineral a "Silent Disease," that "can kill!" Hence, managing phosphorus is crucial to a Dialysis patient's health outcomes. While Dialysis Treatments remove some phosphorus from the body, it cannot replace the kidneys and patients are at constant risk of high phosphorus (Hyperphosphatemia). This can lead to itching, brittle bones, painful sores which may not heal, Calcification (stiff or less flexible veins and arteries), heart attack, stroke, hospitalizations, and even death. However, with a few special tips, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients can limit their phosphorus to safe levels, reduce negative side effects, and still greatly enjoy the foods they eat.
If it were easy to limit phosphorus, then every Dialysis patient would do so. The fact is, however, that it is very hard to limit phosphorus levels. High-protein foods, such as meats, dried beans, and peas tend to be high in phosphorus. "Double-jeopardy" foods (high in both potassium and phosphorus) include dairy products, nuts, seeds, chocolate, and whole-grain foods.
Let's be clear, the goal is not to have your phosphorus levels at zero. Phosphorus is the most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. The two important nutrients work closely together to build strong bones and teeth (accounts for approximately 85% of phosphorus in the body) as well as assist with creating healthy cells and tissues throughout the body. Aim for phosphorus levels between 3.0 to 5.5 mg/dL. Your monthly blood tests will tell you if you are succeeding at achieving this goal.
The best way for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients to lower their risks of Hyperphosphatemia is to adopt a few basic dietary and lifestyle changes as follows:
1. Use substitutes. It is unreasonable to have Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients eliminate high phosphorus foods out of their diets without providing other options. A good way to limit high phosphorus items is to use alternative choices. For instance, substitute unenriched rice milk for regular milk and yogurt. A small amount of Brie or Swiss cheese is better than processed cheeses and cheese spreads. Similarly, English muffins are lower in phosphorus than pancakes and waffles. Popcorn and pretzels are better snacks than nuts and seeds. If you have a sweet tooth, then drop the chocolate for jelly beans, hard candy, fruit snacks or gumdrops.
2. Swapping out your favorite main dish. Try to reduce your intake of higher-phosphorous meats, such as salmon, halibut, organ meats, sardines and pollock, by using beef, pork, lamb, poultry and other fish instead.
3. Where's the phosphorus? Manufacturers may add phosphorus when processing foods to thicken them, improve taste, prevent discoloration or preserve them. Thus, look for any ingredients on labels that contains the term "phos." This includes: Calcium phosphate, Disodium phosphate, Phosphoric acid, Monopotassium phosphate, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, and Sodium tripolyphosphate.
4. Monitor your phosphorus intake. The Mayo Clinic said, "For adults with kidney disease, generally 800 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) of phosphorus a day is the limit." To give you some idea, One slice of whole wheat bread has 57 mg of phosphorous, while enriched white bread has only 25 mg. Try to monitor how much phosphorus you are taking in throughout your day.
5. Not all antacids are good binders. Some calcium-based antacids may be used safely by Dialysis patients to bind extra phosphorus. Still, some may contain aluminum or magnesium. These can build up to toxic levels in Dialysis patients. "Always read labels and ask your doctor, pharmacist, or dietitian before taking any over-the-counter products," said Ultracare-dialysis.com.
6. Switch more than just the colas. Most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients know that they should try to avoid colas and pepper-type sodas. Yet, patients should also drop some flavored waters, bottled teas, and some drink mixes with "phos" in the ingredients. Chronic Kidney Disease have a large array of other sodas that they can enjoy such as lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, root beer, plain water or some drink mixes that do not contain "phos" in the ingredients.
Give these tips a try. They should be super easy to implement into your day-to-day habits. If you have more insights to offer, then share them with the over 38,000 KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Friends (click here). Also, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should feel free to talk to their Dietitian about creating a meal plan that meets their needs as well as incorporates their favorite foods or quality substitutes.
Recommended Reading: Can "Too Many" Phosphorus Binders be Harmful to Chronic Kidney Disease Patients?
We at KidneyBuzz.com completely understand how difficult it is to abide by the dietary restrictions of Dialysis. That is why we encourage you to utilize our daily Impact Meals which are a great resource for foods that can help you keep variety in your diet while you mind your levels of phosphorus and overall Renal and Diabetic diets (click here). Moreover, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day for the latest breaking news, information, Impact Meals, Inspirational Quotes, products, and services which teach those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplants, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives.