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What diet should be taken for chronic renal function?

Q: My 76 years old grandfather suffers from chronic renal function (CRF). He also has HT/DM. His urea level ranges around 100 and creatinine level is 5. He is suffering from ataxia. What diet should he take?

A:I am sure the common principals of dietary control are already being followed for your grandfather for controlling his high BP (blood pressure) and diabetes. I want to place special emphasis on the diet for CRF along with Ataxia. I am also not suggesting a diet chart, but outlining some rules that you may work the diet around. Please consult a dietician in person and / or the physician seeing your grandfather on any doubts that you may have on below.

For CRF:

  1. Moderate protein diet. Non vegetarian sources meat, fish, cheese, egg, milk, curd should be controlled, along with vegetarian sources like nuts, pulses - all this to be taken moderately.
  2. Salt in lower amounts to control thigh BP and also the fluid retention and load on kidneys. Do not switch to low sodium salts as they contain high potassium levels.
  3. Potassium - the levels of potassium need to be checked clinically before controlling actively on this. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain good amounts. High levels in food are unsuitable for your grandfather. Read labels of packaged foods.
  4. Fluids - this isn't only water but anything that contains it. Fluid intake restriction may be done when there is an overload on kidneys. The urologist will be able to advise on this. If your grandfather is not on dialysis, fluids may not be restricted.
  5. Phosphate levels - Serum calcium and phosphate levels may be checked regularly and controlled in case of CRF in more advanced stages.
  6. Calorie intake - Good control over caloric intake is necessary as too much control and deficit of calories can lead to malnutrition. You may consider supplementary foods recommended by the doctor.

For Ataxia:
  1. Avoid the following-
    • Newly baked bread and cakes
    • Dark chocolate, milk chocolate (white chocolate may be consumed)
    • Bananas, citrus fruits
    • Smoked foods
    • Cheese
    • Foods preserved with sulphites (dried fruits are processed and this preservative may be added)
    • Raw onions; cooked onions recommended moderately.
  2. Vitamins
    • A general multivitamin may be taken as suggested by the doctor.
    • Additional supplementation of the following may be necessary- Vitamins B12, C, D, E, K. These need advice by a doctor.
  3. Minerals
    • Calcium (based on CRF status).
    • Magnesium.


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