Why Do Elderly People with Kidney Disease Have to Be on a Low Protein Diet?

If you are reading this, it is quite likely that your elderly loved one has recently been placed on a low protein diet due to the fact that they have kidney disease. It is also likely that you have many questions. In this brief guide, we will answer the one regarding the necessity for a low protein diet.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects an estimated 37 million people in the United States alone. It interferes with several biological and physiological aspects of the body. It has been established – through extensive testing – that the risks of the disease and the overall speed in which it progresses may be reduced through the patient’s monitoring of protein consumption. 

Low Protein DietWhat Is Protein? 

Protein is a type of complex substance that includes peptide bonds and amino acids. It is contained in many foods from both animals and in plants. Protein is a special type of building block that aids in the maintenance and the repair of various components of the body – such as muscles, the organs throughout the body, and the cells. 

Why is a Low Protein Diet Needed?

While it is true that protein is necessary for the growth, the maintenance, and the repairs of all of the components of the body, it creates a waste product when it is digested. This product is called “urea”. If your elderly loved one suffers from kidney disease, the urea has the capability of accumulating within the bloodstream.

Additionally, the kidneys become overworked. This could result in the development of a loss of appetite and the onset of severe fatigue. By partaking in a low protein diet, the workload placed on the kidneys is drastically reduced and no strain is placed on any healthy aspects of the kidneys. 

Do Protein Needs Change in Those with Kidney Disease? 

Yes, protein needs may change with those that have been diagnosed with kidney disease. For individuals that are not yet on dialysis, protein should only be consumed in very small amounts.

If a patient is on dialysis, they will require a higher level of protein. If a transplant has been performed on the patient, only moderate levels of protein are required. Special attention should be made to those that require a low protein diet – especially in terms of meal planning and cooking. 

Professional Assistance 

Kidney disease is a very challenging condition. It should be closely monitored by a physician and associated staff. Additionally, it is ideal to have a dietitian in place so that one may consume those items that are good for them. Examples include smaller amounts of meat and dairy products, beans, nuts, bread, and cooked rice.

If your loved one is in the advanced stages of their condition and are in need of around-the-clock assistance and direct health care daily, it is advised that you seek either in-home health care or consider placement in a skilled nursing facility.

This will help optimize your loved one’s general level of health. For more information on assistance and/or care programs, contact us here today at Beacon Senior Advisors by calling the following number: 973-713-0096

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