Fluid management

Patients on dialysis have to control their fluid intake carefully. This is especially the case if you are not producing urine. Haemodialysis patients usually have to control their fluid intake more carefully than patients receiving peritoneal dialysis.

Control your thirst

The best way to reduce fluid intake is to reduce thirst caused by the sodium you eat. Excess sodium in your diet encourages you to drink too much.

Sodium is found in salt. Most canned foods and frozen dinners contain large amounts of sodium. Avoid salty foods like crisps, choose low-sodium products.

Much of our salt intake is added to food when cooking or eating it. Dialysis patients should aim to consume about half as much salt as other people.

Control your fluid intake

You can keep your fluid levels down by drinking from smaller cups or glasses. Any food that is liquid at room temperature contains water. These foods include soup, milk, yoghurts, jelly and ice cream. Many fruits and vegetables also contain lots of water. They include melons, watermelons, grapes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce and celery. All these foods add to your fluid intake.

Fluid management

Fluid management with haemodialysis

Fluid can build up between haemodialysis sessions, causing swelling and weight gain. The extra fluid affects your blood pressure and can make your heart work harder. You should aim for a weight increase of around 0.5 kg per day between treatments.

Your dry weight is your weight after a haemodialysis session when all of the extra fluid in your body has been removed. If you let too much fluid build up between sessions, it is harder to get down to your proper dry weight. This increases the risk of intolerance of dialysis (hypotension, cramps, etc.). Your dry weight may change over a period of time if your flesh weight changes.

Fluid management with peritoneal dialysis

Fluid intake is not quite as restricted as it can be for haemodialysis patients, but you should still watch for fluid retention problems.