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Dialyzors, beware 'healthy' alternatives

Posted Feb 13 2009 4:30pm
A few days back, my mother went to a supermarket and bought 'healthy' salt - a low sodium salt. With all the noise about switching to a low sodium diet and the benefits this diet offers, she picked it up and brought it home.

I noticed the packet lying in our kitchen. I made a mental note to tell my mother not to use this salt because low sodium salt is basically Potassium Chloride. Too much sodium is bad for all of us. Too much potassium can be lethal for people on dialysis. She wasn't at home that day and I forgot all about it.

She innocently started using this salt in the daily cooking that happened in my house.

Within a couple of days of this, I started feeling a little, well, 'different'. I was not my usual self. By evening I had a congestion in my chest and felt uneasy. Too much fluid, I concluded. I got on to dialysis a little early. Put on extra ultrafiltration. Within an our of dialysis I felt the congestion in my chest ease. But it was not the usual feeling of fluid being removed. I was distinctly reminded of the first hour of my treatments at the hospital a few years back.

The next morning, I remembered the low sodium salt. Oh my god, I thought. That was it! That was the reason for these strange symptoms. I immediately asked my mother if she was using the low sodium salt she had bought a few days back. She confirmed this.

I then explained to her what the low sodium salt had. She felt guilty. But it wasn't her fault for sure!

This little incident shows how careful dialyzors need to be with what they eat and drink. Things that are touted as 'healthy' for the general population could very well be lethal for folks with kidney disease. Fruits, too, for example. Urinators (people with healthy kidneys!) are advised to have plenty of fruits. A strict no-no for people on dialysis.

The best example of this difference is the consumption of water. I keep hearing people on television and articles in magazines and newspapers exhorting people to drink atleast 8 glasses of water everyday! Allow me and I will drink 80!

Even the so-called experts are so ignorant about renal failure and its associated restrictions that it can be very dangerous for dialyzors to go by what they say. We need to be extra careful with what we eat or drink. Read the labels. And read them again. Before you try something new.
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