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Fresenius Medical Care Offers Dialysis Patients Tips On How To Quench Thirst During Hot Summer Months

October 21, 2017

In the heat of the summer, most people make a point to drink more to stay hydrated. But for dialysis patients, too much fluid can be life-threatening. Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation's leading network of dialysis facilities, reminds patients to closely monitor their fluid intake, and offers tips on how to quench their thirst without jeopardizing their health during the hot summer months.

The kidneys help regulate the body's hydration and water balance, so for those with kidney failure on dialysis, maintaining the proper fluid levels in their body is critical because their kidneys can no longer remove excess liquid waste. When dialysis patients consume too much fluid, it can end up in their lungs, making it hard to breathe.

Symptoms such as weight gain, higher blood pressure, or swelling are signs that the body may be retaining too much fluid. Over time, too much fluid can also hurt the heart and lead to heart failure.

"When summer rolls around, the natural temptation to drink more can make it harder for people on dialysis to keep their fluid levels under control," said Barbara Zebrowski, MS, RD, CSR, LDN, corporate dietitian, Fresenius Medical Care. "Patients should talk with their doctor and dietitian to learn how much fluid they can drink every day, how to limit fluid intake and what signs and symptoms to look for if too much fluid is building up."

Below are some tips on how to limit fluids, and help control your thirst.

- Pass on the salt! Do not add salt to food, and keep the salt shaker off the table.
- Brush your teeth more often to feel refreshed.
- Suck on a lemon wedge. You can freeze it first if you like.
- Add lemon to water and ice for a thirst-quenching effect.
- Suck on a few ice chips. Ice stays in your mouth longer than water.
- Eat sugar-free sour candy or chew gum to wet your mouth.
- Eat frozen fruit like grapes, peaches, or pineapple chunks (make sure to count these as part of your fruit allowance).
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels at the level your physician prescribes.

Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood, removes extra fluids and controls the body's chemistry when a person's kidneys fail. Dialysis patients typically require treatment on an ongoing basis unless they receive a kidney transplant.

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