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Renal Disease

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What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease is characterized by the condition in which the kidneys progressively and irreversibly lose kidney function, and thus the ability to perform their basic functions.

Renal failure can be:

  • Acute, when the loss of kidney function comes on suddenly and quickly and there is a possibility of recovery;
  • Chronic, when this loss is slow, progressive and irreversible.

It should be noted that the kidneys are complex organs, responsible for multiple functions in our body. Among the main ones, we can highlight:

  • Elimination of toxins;
  • Elimination of useless or excess substances from the bloodstream;
  • Control of the electrolyte (mineral salt) levels in the blood;
  • Control of the body's water level;
  • Blood pH control;
  • Production of hormones that control blood pressure;
  • Vitamin D production;
  • Production of hormones that stimulate the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow.

Thus, at a more advanced stage of chronic kidney disease, the kidneys are no longer even able to maintain their proper functioning. This causes them to lose their ability to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood that should be eliminated in the urine, leading to a build-up of toxic substances in the body. This can be life-threatening.


Most people undervalue, ignore or postpone the care of chronic kidney disease because there is an absence of symptoms in the early stages of the disease. The initial lack of signs results from the kidneys' ability to adapt to the progressive loss of their function, so that signs only appear when the disease is already in a later and more severe stage.

We can say then, that the symptoms appear at a more progressive stage of the disease and hence its late diagnosis.  

When the disease is in a more advanced stage, with loss of kidney function, the most frequent symptoms are:

  • Producing less urine;
  • The need to urinate frequently;
  • Burning or difficulty in urinating;
  • Blood in the urine;
  • Swollen hands, feet, eyes and/or legs;
  • Hypertension;
  • Constant fatigue;
  • Weakness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Insomnia;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting.


In many cases it is not possible to determine the exact cause of chronic renal failure. However, the most frequent causes may be due to:

  • Diabetes;
  • Obesity;
  • Hypertension;
  • Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the glomeruli);
  • Pyelonephritis (infection of the urinary tract);
  • Polycystic kidneys.

It is also possible that there are hereditary factors that increase the tendency for chronic kidney disease.

Preventing chronic kidney disease involves controlling all risk factors, such as diabetes and hypertension, and diagnosing and treating any kidney disease early, thus preventing its progression.

For a better diagnosis, it is advisable to evaluate the patient's history, paying particular attention to episodes of high blood pressure, and to know what medication he or she takes that may impair the kidney function. Sometimes it is even necessary to perform blood and urine tests.

food Chronic Kidney Disease

A Nutrição Funcional no Tratamento da Doença Renal

In Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Functional Nutrition 's main role is to slow the progression of the disease through two means:

  • Control of the causative diseases: diabetes, hypertension and/or overweight and obesity;
  • Diet: There is very specific care for CKD patients.

Due to the nutritional limitations instilled by the disease, Nutritional monitoring is a key tool to know how to deal, in a simple way, with all of them.

It is also essential to find your balance and adjust any nutritional deficiencies that may arise.

Points raised in the consultation:

  • How to reduce the potassium content in food;
  • Analyze the analyses and correct their nutritional deficiencies;
  • Adequate fluid intake;
  • Reduce your worries about the disease;
  • Practical advice to prepare for real life, such as eating out and socializing;
  • Variety: how to introduce new foods;
  • Ongoing support that you can rely on.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a first consultation consist of?

The goal of the first consultation is to understand the current health condition, in as much detail as possible, in particular:

  • analysis of the entire family history, diet, physical activity, mental health, and weight;
  • analysis of signs and symptoms and history of laboratory tests;
  • anthropometry: weight, measurements and fat percentage;
  • goal setting (action plan);
  • In some cases, additional tests will be requested between the first and the second visit;
  • prescription for supplementation, when necessary.

The first consultation lasts approximately one hour.

Is the consultation for Kidney Disease treatment tailored to my needs?

All our treatments are deeply focused on individualized care, this one is no exception. Treatment for kidney disease, as stated in the previous question, is prescribed depending on the patient's current health condition.

No two prescriptions are alike, each person is unique and their current state of health is the sum total of their experiences.

How does the follow-up work?

At the beginning of the treatment, face-to-face consultations are usually every 4 weeks. It is not advisable to space it out much more than that.

Support is offered for questions that may arise after the consultations via Whatsapp or email. We like to follow our patients closely, especially at the beginning of the treatment. This way, the results are better.

patricia moreira

Dr. Patrícia Moreira

  • Nutritionist, graduated from Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição Universidade do Porto
  • Clinical Nutritionist at Diaverum, where she is responsible for the nutritional monitoring of chronic renal failure patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment. She also develops food education materials and sessions, as well as articles on nutrition, diet and hemodialysis in magazines and social channels. Conducts scientific research in chronic renal failure
  • Effective Member of the Order of Nutritionists n.º 2924N

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