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What is hemodialysis?Fluid and Diet Management
Fluid and Diet Management

Managing fluid

The weight of fluids is the liquid part of your body. Body weight varies every day depending on what you eat and drink.

It is important to maintain fluid balance. When your kidneys were healthy, they were able to balance the amount of fluid in your body. Your home hemodialysis machine will help eliminate a portion of the excess fluid, but you must monitor the amount of ingested fluid that enters your body. Your weight and how you feel also depend on your fluid balance.

Your total weight = body weight and weight of fluids

What do you need to do every day to maintain your fluid balance?

  • Weigh yourself
  • Check your blood pressure and write it down
  • Watch out for signs of swelling and puffiness in your tissues
  • Notice how you are feeling, e.g., shortness of breath
  • Pay attention to the types of food and the amount of drinks you consume
  • Fluids include beverages, ice, ice cream, melons, gelatin and soup, among others
  • You may sometimes have to limit your fluid consumption
Know the amount of liquid you can take daily and plan your food intake accordingly.

How do you know if your body contains too much fluid?

Too much fluid means “fluid overload,” which may require too much strain on your heart.

Symptoms of fluid overload:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Swelling

What can you do in case of fluid overload?

  • Monitor your weight, breathing, blood pressure and signs of swelling
  • Reduce your fluid intake
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Salty foods will make you thirsty, and you might drink more
  • If you have fluid overload, you may have more fluids to remove during your hemodialysis treatment. If you need to remove more fluids than usual, call your hemodialysis department, and your nurse will be able to guide you.

How do you know if your body contains too little fluid?

Having too little fluid is called “dehydration.”

Signs and Symptoms of dehydration:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Drop in blood pressure (may cause vomiting)
  • Intense thirst
  • Constipation

What can you do if you have too little fluid?

Some possible options:
  • Drink more fluids
  • Reduce the fluid loss on your hemodialysis machine (as recommended by your clinic)
  • Your ideal weight or dry weight should be re-evaluated upwards: consult your clinic
managing fluid

Managing your diet

Your diet is an important part of your treatment plan and will evolve over time.

Depending on your blood test results and the quality of your dialysis, you may be able to modify your diet by consulting a nutritionist.

Your nutritionist will help you plan your meals and eat the right foods for your condition. She will give you tips on how to reduce salt and fluids.

Your food intake should take into account your fluid, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, vitamin and mineral restrictions.

Medication and diet are essential supplements to your hemodialysis treatment

Additional Resources

For additional resources, try some fantastic new recipes and learn more about trending diets and plant-based protein please visit the following website:

Spice it up! Is:
  • Written by dietitians specializing in nephrology;
  • Approved by the Kidney Foundation; and
  • Published in English and French twice a year online and in hard copy.