Nutrition & Chronic Kidney Disease Video

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  • 0:06 Kidneys
  • 1:06 Chronic Kidney Disease
  • 1:41 Sodium
  • 2:22 Protein
  • 2:57 Potassium and Phosphorus
  • 4:06 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Your kidneys filter out wastes. If you have chronic kidney disease, your kidneys will have a hard time doing their job. This can lead to a buildup of wastes in the blood. Changing your diet can help your kidneys so they do not have to work as hard.


I hate clutter. Every night, I clean off my desk and tidy up my work space, so I maintain a nice clean environment in which to get my work done. This is kind of what your kidneys do for your body. They clean up clutter. Or, more specifically, they remove the impurities, toxins and excess fluid that flows through your blood, so your bodily processes can be carried out in a nice clean environment.

These impurities and toxins are waste products produced as the foods you eat are converted to energy. If you develop a kidney disease, your kidneys might have a hard time tidying up, which allows the wastes to build up and potentially cause harm. So, a person with a kidney disease needs to limit certain foods, such as protein, sodium and other minerals to prevent this waste buildup. In this lesson, we will discuss the basic dietary considerations that individuals with kidney disease should abide by to limit the work their kidneys must do.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is the progressive loss of kidney function. There are five stages based on how well the kidneys can filter out wastes and excess fluids from the blood. In the early stages, such as in stage 1, which is the mildest stage, there are few signs and symptoms. This silent period can allow the disease to advance to a point where kidney function becomes severely impaired. In fact, stage 5 is often referred to as end-stage kidney disease. In this advanced stage, the kidneys have lost nearly all of their ability to work.


Regardless of the disease stage, dietary changes can lessen the burden on the kidneys and prevent the buildup of waste products in the blood. One of the first nutrients that may need to be limited is sodium. Sodium, which is often referred to simply as salt, can be added to foods as a seasoning or hidden in processed foods.

Your kidneys regulate the amount of sodium you retain in your body. This is an important job because water likes salt, so water tends to accumulate where salt is. If your kidneys are not removing salt from your blood, you will retain too much water inside your blood vessels. This builds up the pressure within your vessels, resulting in high blood pressure.


Protein intake must be monitored in a person with chronic kidney disease. Protein is an important nutrient that the body needs for growth and repair. It's easy to get from sources such as meat, eggs, dairy products and beans. However, your kidneys need to work harder when you eat a diet high in protein. If your kidneys are not working properly, then too much dietary protein can cause wastes to build up in your blood. A person with kidney disease needs to work with his or her healthcare team to determine how much protein is right for them.

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