Temperatures around the globe have reached record highs this summer, putting people at a greater risk for dehydration. But staying hydrated can be a bit tricky when you are living with kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, you may need to limit water and fluids. This is because damaged kidneys do not get rid of extra fluid as well as they should. Too much fluid in your body can cause high blood pressure, swelling and heart failure. It can also make your dialysis treatments more difficult.
So how do you find that perfect balance of staying hydrated in the scorching summer heat and having too much fluid in your body? Here are five tips to help you beat the heat:
- Avoid salty foods. Salty foods like chips or pretzels can make you thirsty. If you are trying to avoid consuming more fluids, skip the salty snacks that have you reaching for your water glass and choose an unsalted version instead.
- Drink slowly out of smaller cups. Not only will this slow down your fluid intake, it will also help you keep track of how much you have had to drink.
- Chill or freeze fruit or 100% fruit juice for a refreshing snack. With this tip, you can enjoy the cooling delight of a popsicle and the natural sweetness that fruits provide without the added sugar.
- Chew gum or suck on sugar-free sour hard candy. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy – or a piece of ice, mints or a lemon slice – makes your mouth produce more saliva, which will make you less thirsty.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your medications cause dry mouth. If you are experiencing dry mouth, you will be more likely to reach for those fluids to alleviate the symptoms. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if there is a different medication you can take without this side effect.
Remember, certain foods that may be a go-to for cooling down like ice cream can also count toward your fluid intake. Find out more tips, guides and recipes for following a kidney-friendly food and fluid plan on the American Kidney Fund's Kidney Kitchen® – including more information about what qualifies as a "fluid."
Be sure to consult with your doctor and dietitian about your specific fluid intake requirements.
Stay safe and cool!