Stephanie Legin RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian l
A Dietitian’s Role In Helping You Manage Your Health and CKD
The Role of a Dietitian
I have filled many roles as a registered dietitian over the last 23 years. The areas of nutrition I have worked in may have changed over the years; however, the mission and goals have remained the same. The objective, for all dietitians, is to educate people about food and its impact on health.
Part of an RD’s assessment is to recommend what to eat and what not to eat for your individual health needs. This builds the foundation on which to base your goals. Taking that knowledge and incorporating it into your lifestyle can be the tricky part. Your dietitian can help give you the tools and support you need to achieve sustainable dietary changes to reduce your risk of developing disease, manage health issues and slow their progression.
Your Dietitian and CKD
Many people underestimate the importance diet plays in renal disease prevention and development. Kidney disease has 5 stages. Each stage has its own unique nutrition related restrictions/limitations. Your nephrologist and renal dietitian take into consideration many things every step of the way to create an individualized plan of care for you. Regular nephrology follow-ups and blood work help your health care team keep close tabs on your health and renal function. Your renal team makes medication, lifestyle, and diet recommendations based on your test results and personal needs to help you manage your kidney disease.
Like the type of gas you put in your car, the type of food you put in your body will impact how well it runs. For those of you with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), what you eat can affect how you feel and how well (or not well) you manage the progression of the disease.
I always encourage my patients to treat food as if it were medicine. Different foods contain different nutrients. With CKD, certain minerals can no longer be metabolized and regulated by the kidneys. As CKD progresses, kidney function declines and the ability to regulate these minerals deteriorates. Early detection of the disease and strict compliance to diet restrictions can help prevent the decline of kidney disease. Following the recommended diet restrictions prevents stress on the kidneys by reducing excess mineral and fluid amounts that need to be filtered and balanced. Less stress means less damage and slower disease progression.
A Registered Dietitian Can…
- Provide individualized nutrition education for CKD or other disease/nutrition related issues (obesity, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, food allergies, etc.)
- Help you learn where to start and how to navigate your lifelong health journey to better health or disease management
- Facilitate creating and setting personal nutrition goals
- Tailor an individualized road map on how you are going to achieve those goals based on your personal needs and lifestyle
- Assist in developing strategies to overcome obstacles and setbacks
- Help you develop coping skills
- Provide lists of foods to avoid or ones to incorporate into your diet
- Help you discover renal friendly recipes or teach you how to adapt your favorite ones to meet dietary needs
- Plan menus around your likes and lifestyles needs
- Assist in developing grocery lists based on menus to streamline the shopping process
- Direct you to what kinds of supplements and vitamin and minerals are right for you
- Explain how to separate fact from fiction and dispel nutrition myths
- Discuss the emotional aspect of eating and ways to overcome emotional eating
- Tips on how to stick to your diet when dining out
- Help develop strategies to deal with food in social situations
- Provide support and encouragement
- Guide you to reputable renal nutrition resources: books, websites, cookbooks, online tools, etc.
- Advise you on food-medication and food-supplement interactions
- Celebrate success!
All of these factors can help you stick to your diet and achieve your CKD nutrition goals. Whatever your health goals are, consult with a Registered Dietitian who can help you create an individualized nutrition plan that works for you.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. KidneyChef urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. KidneyChef advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. KidneyChef does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. KidneyChef does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by KidneyChef is solely at your own risk.