Hemodialysis: diet, care and lifestyle

People undergoing this procedure, which cleanses the blood and eliminates the waste that accumulates when the kidneys do not work properly, need to follow a special diet to obtain better results and improve quality of life.

As a kidney patient, it is very important that you eat a balanced diet because it will improve your quality of life, allow a better result of hemodialysis and, if you are a candidate for a transplant, it will help your body to be prepared.

Beware of potassium!

Potassium is a mineral necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular systems. As it is not eliminated by the kidney, in patients with renal failure it accumulates in the blood and can cause significant cardiac disorders. Therefore, it is essential to avoid prolonged fasts that favor an increase in potassium in the blood.

Tips to reduce potassium in fruits and vegetables:

  1. Remove the skin and cut the pieces into slices.

  2. Soak them for at least twelve hours.

  3. Change the water and rinse them several times.

  4. Cook with plenty of water. Let it boil for 10 to 12 minutes, change the water and cook again.

  5. Do not use the soaking or boiling water to prepare food.

  6. In the case of legumes, cook them triple.

Be very careful with the water

One of the functions of the kidney is to remove fluids from the body and, as it does not work, between one dialysis and the next they accumulate in the body, causing rapid weight gain, swelling in the extremities and increased blood pressure. .

Tips for controlling fluid intake:

  1. Use a bathroom scale to weigh yourself daily (always the same).

  2. Measure the liquid you should drink per day (500 cc + diuresis), fill a bottle of water with that amount and always use the same one.

  3. Suck on ice cubes, drink cold water and in a small glass.

  4. Remove the water from the vegetables by sautéing them after boiling them.

  5. French fries have less water than cooked ones.

  6. Toasted bread contains less water than fresh bread.

  7. Use lemon wedges to stimulate salivation and moisten your mouth.

  8. Chew sugar-free gum, even if you don't have diabetes, to stimulate saliva.

  9. Drink cold tea and lemonade instead of soft drinks, which by their composition contribute to increase thirst.

  10. Be as active as possible so you don't feel the urge to drink.


Carbohydrates have to be the basis of your diet, except if you suffer from diabetes, and you should combine them daily with meat (preferably turkey and chicken) or fresh fish. It is also important that you reduce your salt intake to avoid possible complications derived from the rise in blood pressure: start using flavor substitutes such as aromatic herbs or garlic.


Starting a hemodialysis treatment causes many changes in the lifestyle of patients. Our recommendations are:

  • Do moderate physical exercise frequently and according to your age: walk, swim, ride a bicycle ...

  • Suppress tobacco use.

  • Rest well. Some indications in this regard:

- Go to bed at the right time and respect time habits
- Dinner in a light and balanced way
- Do not do intense exercise before going to bed
- Sleep in a ventilated room and at a constant temperature
- Use a soft pillow

  • As far as possible, continue with your work activity.

  • Do not isolate yourself: your environment has to know your illness.

  • Maintain your social relationships.

  • Pay attention to your oral hygiene. It is important to insist on it to prevent halitosis (bad breath) that sometimes patients with kidney failure present. Teeth should be brushed after each meal with a soft brush to prevent gum bleeding and then a mouthwash should be used.

  • Use neutral soaps, dry the skin well and moisturize it with cream to avoid itching.

  • Do not use perfumes that dry it out.