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Jun 082013

A polycystic kidney disease diet is a specialized renal diet that is followed by people suffering from polycystic kidney disease.

This disease is unlike other kidney diseases that are caused by the food we eat, high blood pressure or diabetes. Polycystic kidney disease, or PKD in short as it is more commonly known, is a genetic disorder. This means that a person has a large tendency to develop this disease if this runs in the family because of the genes inherited.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms

The symptoms associated with PKD are multiple fluid-filled cysts within the kidneys. These cysts interfere with the kidneys’ natural function of filtering out the toxic wastes resulting from the body’s normal functions. Moreover, there is noticeable swelling of the kidneys because of the numerous cysts within them. Unfortunately, as at today, there is no known effective cure and a person diagnosed with PKD can develop kidney failure. The only way forward is to follow a strict polycystic kidney disease diet.

Following a diet for polycystic kidney disease ensures that the development of this disease is slowed down tremendously. In fact, with proper care and perseverance, this could result in slowing down the disease by more than 50%. This could also mean avoiding the kidney dialysis machine or kidney transplant. So it stands to reason that people diagnosed with PKD or those most likely to get PKD because of their genetic makeup should immediately start following a polycystic kidney disease diet.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Diet Restrictions and Suggestions

All the renal diets we discussed before exhibited similar differences. And a PKD diet is no exception. The following components are common to all renal diets we already discussed:

High blood pressure is a consequence of PKD, further straining the ability of diseased kidneys to function properly. As a result, salt and salty foods will cause further strain and so one of the fundamental features of a polycystic kidney disease diet is the intake reduction of this harmful compound.

Water was already shown to be beneficial in other diets discussed in this blog. In a polycystic kidney disease diet, drinking water becomes even more important.

a Polycystic Kidney Disease Diet means drinking a lot of water

Since one of the symptoms is usually blood in the urine, this means drinking lots of water to deter clots from forming in the urinary tract. Water also has other benefits in other kidney diets such as a diet plan for kidney disease, diets to avoid kidney stones and diets made for renal patients.

It goes without saying that smoking should be stopped so as to prevent high blood pressure that is associated with this disease. And regular exercise should be started unless already doing so. Thirty minutes a day would be ideal.

Keep your body weight close to the ideal as advised by your dietician. Keep in mind that kidney disease could have a noticeable effect on body weight as filtration is affected. This results in bloating and swelling of limbs thereby increasing body weight.

Potassium levels increase when affected by PKD. This is because diseased kidneys have trouble removing excess potassium so levels start to rise. Although potassium is important for proper muscle functioning, the heart and nervous system, it is very dangerous when present in high levels because it can result in heart malfunctioning and death.

Protein intake has to be also kept to a minimum.

The following components are what make a PKD diet unique:

It is increasing being recognized that following an alkaline diet is the way forward to combat PKD. Essentially an alkaline diet means eating lots of fruit and vegetables. You indirectly gain the added benefit of increasing fibre in your diet and a following a low fat diet. Fibre is important for digestion and helps to avoid stomach and intestine cancer. Low fat intake is important to avoid high blood pressure.

Vitamin D deficiency is another factor that can increase kidney injury. This vitamin is commonly produced by sunlight exposure or taken by supplements such as alfalfa.


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