Patients who have been prescribed a renal diet and fail to follow it experience a rapid worsening of their kidney disease symptoms, says Diet.com. Renal diets are designed to balance the patients' nutritional needs with their kidneys' ability to maintain proper electrolyte balances and get rid of waste products.Continue Reading
Diet.com explains that properly functioning kidneys rid the body of unneeded sodium, potassium and phosphate when these are ingested in excess. When the kidneys are not functioning to capacity, the patient must follow a diet that limits the amounts of these substances consumed, to keep the substances from building up in the body and causing harm.
When excess sodium accumulates in the body, it causes thirst and fluid retention, which results in painful swelling of the feet and ankles, weight gain and high blood pressure. This, in turn, adversely affects the heart, says Diet.com. When too much phosphorus builds up in the body, it pulls calcium from the bones, making them brittle and subject to breaking easily. Potassium plays a variety of roles in the body, including mediating the nerve impulses to the muscles. Excess potassium interferes with nerve signals to the heart muscle, resulting in deadly heart arrhythmia, says WebMD.com. Failing to follow one's prescribed renal diet is likely to result in one of more of the above symptoms, according to Diet.com.
A waste product called urea is produced when the body breaks down proteins, explains Diet.com. Protein is a necessary nutrient, and the kidneys are responsible for filtering the urea so that it is expelled in the urine. In a patient with compromised kidneys, when too much protein is ingested, excess urea builds up. This causes additional damage to the kidneys. Renal diets limit the amount of protein to stave off further kidney failure.Learn more about Nutrition & Diets