When it comes to fluid intake and kidney disease, less is more. Because the kidneys are no longer able to work effectively, the body is unable to rid itself of excess fluids. Our kidney disease patients at the Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati work with their care team to determine a target amount unique to their situation, but here is some general guidance on fluid intake.
What counts as a fluid?
When we talk about fluid intake, we often think about water. Fluids of course include other drinks like coffee, tea, and juice. But you might not have realized that fluids from foods often account for a significant portion of your daily food intake, like fruits, vegetables, popsicles, and soups.
How much is too much?
The short answer is “it depends.” Your ideal fluid intake depends on a variety of factors. Those receiving in-center dialysis tend to have a smaller fluid allowance because they typically receive treatment three days a week. The kidneys are unable to remove excess fluids from the body, so when treatments are less frequent, there are fewer opportunities to flush this excess.
On the other hand, those receiving home dialysis tend to perform treatments five or six days each week. Since fluids are removed more frequently, the fluid allowance can be higher.
Your residual kidney function also plays a role in how much fluids you can consume. Those will more kidney function may be able to have a higher fluid intake than those with little to no kidney function.
How else can I stay hydrated?
Reducing your fluid intake and staying hydrated as a kidney disease patient can require a bit of creativity. Spicy foods and foods high in sodium tend to increase thirst, so limit these to occasional consumption. Those with diabetes should also take care to manage blood glucose levels. A high blood glucose level can increase thirst.
Another way to stay hydrated is keeping your body temperature cool. Try wrapping a wet towel around your neck or head in warmer months.