Phosphate Binders 101

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Phosphate Binders 101 Mindy McCullough, MS, RD, LDN -- Phosphate binders (also called phosphorus binders) are often a necessity for people with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) on dialysis and sometimes are required for those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) pre-dialysis.  Phosphate binders are taken with meals to stop the body from absorbing some of the phosphorus in your food. Phosphate binders are taken about 5-10 minutes before you eat a meal or snack.  Some people prefer to take them immediately after eating, which is also effective.  Phosphate binders work by binding phosphorus from foods in the stomach and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  The phosphorus is then passed through the stool out of the body.  Phosphorus binders do not bind all the phosphorus from foods.  It has been estimated that…
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Exercising with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

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Lauren Phillips, MS, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian -- With each new week, month, or year, many of us make resolutions to lose weight or increase physical activity. Making these resolutions a habit or knowing where to start can be difficult, especially when dealing with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) on Dialysis. The general recommendation is to get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. An example of moderate physical activity would be a brisk paced walk. Meeting the goal of 2 hours and 30 minutes of activity each week can be hard. One way to help meet this goal is to do a minimum of 10 minutes of physical activity at a time, multiple times throughout the day. Before starting any…
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Heart Health: Ticker Talk with Renal Disease

Heart Health: Ticker Talk with Renal Disease

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Marika Wamback, BSc. R.D. Renal Dietitian -- Did you know that February is Heart Health Month?  Since February is usually associated with love, flowers, chocolates, and hearts for Valentine’s Day, it is also associated with keeping a vital muscle and pump system in tip top shape! The heart is a muscle in the body that operates like a pump; pumping blood to every single part of the body through arteries and veins.  Blood carries oxygen, nutrients, fluids, and electrolytes, all of which are vital for survival.  These nutrients are also essential for a healthy heart.  Without them, the heart cannot function optimally, reducing pumping and blood flow.  Or, it must work harder, increasing stress on the heart. Unfortunately, heart disease is the primary cause of death with kidney disease.  It…
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Making Sense of Your Laboratory Values

Making Sense of Your Laboratory Values

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Lauren Phillips, MS, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian __ Keeping nutrition related laboratory values straight can be an overwhelming task even for the most seasoned people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The following is a quick reference guide to a few of the most common nutrition related laboratory values. Albumin – maintaining albumin within goal helps the immune system fight infection and inflammation, build muscle, and improve healing time after surgeries/injuries. Possible causes for low albumin include inflammation, liver disease, infection, malnutrition, fluid overload, and surgery. This will usually appear on your lab report as albumin. On your lab report, the goal for albumin is generally 3.5-5.5 g/dL. If your albumin is out of range, talk with your nephrologist and dietitian about what might be…
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Realistic Resolutions for Continual Health

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Marika Wamback, R.D. Renal Dietitian -- Happy new year!  As we welcome in 2018, many of us will want to start the year off with healthy goals; the top ones being losing weight, and quitting smoking.  These are admirable goals, but often, people quit just as they’re getting started.  This is because they have not set realistic goals for sustainable change.  With kidney disease, it can be even more of a challenge, due to the constant monitoring of kidney function.  Kidney disease can often feel like a lifestyle in and of itself. Realistic resolutions will help you, whether or not you have kidney disease. Making them work for you in the long term is key.  With food costs increasing in 2018 and increase cost in dining out, and with constantly…
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Kidneys – Did You Know?

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Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian -- Kidneys - Did You Know? Renal is a medical term meaning “having to do with the kidneys” High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney failure.  Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels is key in protecting the kidneys and preventing or slowing kidney disease.  Other risk factors include heart disease, obesity, and a family history of CKD 35% of people aged 20 years or older with diabetes have chronic kidney disease CKD is estimated to be more common in women than in men (16% vs 13%) 30 million people or 15% of US adults  (1 in 7 adults aged 18 and older) are estimated to have CKD An estimated 12.5% of the population in Canada has CKD Compared…
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Sugar

Sugar

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Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian -- Sugarcane was introduced to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus in 1493.  Since then, the sugar industry flourished and sugar has become a major factor in the growth of the food industry. This has resulted in  the overconsumption of added sugars in the American diet. Carbohydrates (CHO's) are an essential nutrient to human life.  There are two categories of CHO’s; complex and simple.  Complex CHO’s actually contain carbohydrate plus  fiber.  Most of our CHO consumption should be from complex CHO’s. Simple ­CHO’s  contain no fiber and are responsible for the sweet taste in many foods.  Sugar is a simple CHO and has 4 "empty" calories per teaspoon, which means it contains no nutritional value.  Due to its negligible nutritional content, simple sugar should be limited…
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Sweeten Your Day the Kidney Friendly Way

Sweeten Your Day the Kidney Friendly Way

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Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian -- Who doesn’t love to indulge in some sweet treats now and again?  For people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), choosing a renal friendly treat is important. There are many sweet options out there, but some can be too high in phosphorus and potassium, which are limited and/or restricted on the kidney diet. Many popular candies contain chocolate and nuts, both of which contain phosphorus and potassium. Since people with kidney disease may have trouble removing excess phosphorus and potassium from their blood, it can be dangerous. Too much phosphorus can cause a person with kidney disease (especially later stages) bone and heart problems, low blood calcium, and the hardening of tissues. That is why it is important to look for candies that have <160 mg phosphorus per serving. Potassium…
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High Blood Pressure and Diet: The Connection

High Blood Pressure and Diet: The Connection

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Ann Haibeck, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian High blood pressure and diet: What’s the connection? Kidney patients often experience elevated blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat your blood pressure, but your food choices can be just as important as taking your medication. Salty and highly processed foods often provide more salt (sodium) than we need in our diets, which can increase blood pressure readings. High blood pressure can put excess stress on blood vessels, including those that lead to the kidneys and other vital organs. Sodium Guidelines The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day, with 1,500mg per day or less being ideal. The National Kidney Foundation recommends 2,500mg to 3,800 mg of sodium daily for patients on…
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