This is how you can enjoy end of year festivities without neglecting your kidney health

Although patients with CKD need to be very careful, the truth is that they can celebrate without falling into excesses. Here are some recommendations.

December is a time to be with family, be thankful for the good things, reflect and of course, celebrate. However, celebrating doesn’t have to be synonymous of excess or neglecting our health. That’s why Baxter RCS experts are answering some of the questions patients with CKD are asking about good food and alcohol consumption at the end of the year. ¡ Celebrating and staying healthy is possible!

Can a patient with CKD drink alcohol? Can this vary depending on the stage of the disease?
“The renal patient, regardless of the stage, should NOT consume alcoholic beverages because this can have consequences, such as altering hormonal control mechanisms related to kidneys functions; this could also produce imbalances in the electrolytes of some patients, generating complications” says Jaime Guadir, nursing assistant.

Some patients believe that they can consume alcoholic beverages as they did before when they are in the early stages of CKD and have a few symptoms . Is this true or false?

According to Doctor Diana Benavides this is false and "despite the medical indications, most patients whom the explanation of kidney disease has been given, do not comply with dietary recommendations or healthy habits".

Jaime Guadir also asserts that this is false and adds that: "Most patients do it occasionally because they are unaware of the possible immediate or subsequent consequences. Your kidneys may have abnormalities due to over-hydration or dehydration, and likewise, problems with vital signs may occur increasing blood pressure and heart rate".

In addition to that, a patient with CKD who uses liquor may have other complications such as pulmonary edema, neurological alterations and heart failure. If the patient is diabetic, health problems would have to do with increased glycemia, diabetic coma, coronary or cerebral infarctions, cirrhosis, decompensation and even death.

What can happen when alcohol interacts with the medicines a person consume when having CKD?

Doctor Alejandra Cabrera, pharmaceutical chemist, says that: "Mixing drugs with alcohol can cause potentially serious or clinically relevant effects in anyone who takes drugs, with the geriatric patient or the one with chronic pathologies such as kidney disease being into the population with higher risk ".

The doctor recommends not mixing medicines and alcohol to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment, since on several occasions, modifications in the therapeutic effects of the drug may occur.

But that’s not all. Sometimes, and according to Alejandra Cabrera, mixing the liquor with certain kinds of drugs can cause symptoms of toxicity that "cause general discomfort, dizziness, vertigo, facial flushing, red eyes, palpitations, decreased tension, nausea and vomiting. Sweating, blurred vision, and decreased consciousness may also occur. In addition, all these symptoms can last up to 10 days and occur within a short time of ingesting alcohol, even in small amounts".

December is approaching, a time that is synonymous of joy, but also of excesses when it comes to eating and drinking. In that sense, what advice can be given to those who have CKD so that they can control themselves and not fall into "temptations"?

Nutritionist Liliana Basante Solarte gives us these recommendations for both patients, friends and family, who are important in helping to maintain control:

• Do not miss the daily hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis therapies. Also, take the medicines at the indicated times.
• Have commitment, take care, self-help and love.
• Do breathing exercises and physical activity such as walking and dancing.
• Prepare all foods without salt. Remember to use only 2 to 3 grams a day.
• Spice your food with natural products as an alternative to salt. Some of them are: lemon, vinegar, homemade pepper, bay leaf, basil, garlic, onion, tomato, paprika, coriander, annatto, ginger, cumin, pepper, mint, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and turmeric, among others.
• Eat fruits like: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, green grapes, uvilla, pears, green apples, papaya and mangoes.
• Increase the consumption of vegetables such as: lettuce, onion, cucumber, peeled tomato, beans, pumpkin and squash.
• Choose cooked, roasted, grilled, steak or baked preparations.
• If there is a craving for a dessert, make it low-fat and sweet. If you are diabetic you could use Stevia.
• Also control the amount of liquids you consume.

• In diabetic patients, monitor blood glucose levels.
• Maintain meal times, consistency, and portion sizes.
• Control the amount of fatty foods and flours.
• In your diet: select a source of protein of biological value (lean meats or eggs) or vegetable protein (legumes or quinoa), combined with one or two portions of carbohydrates cereals or tubers (rice, pasta, arepa, peeled potato, yucca, arracacha or dialyzed banana). If you are diabetic, one flour per meal with a large portion of steamed vegetables, raw salad, or chopped fruits. Accompany with an infusion of mint or basil.

What could a person with CKD drink, instead of alcohol, to take care of and enjoy during the holidays?

Nutritionist Liliana says that: "they could make a mini drink in cold infusion of red fruits (blackberry, strawberry, mortiño or blueberries), yellow fruits (cape gooseberry or uvilla), or green (green grape, kiwi). To this infusion you can add drops of lemon or tangerine, mint leaves or mint, and add a pinch of ginger. It can be served in a transparent glass with ice, fruit slices, cinnamon or cloves. It is a kind of healthy cocktail to make a toast. And if you are not diabetic, you can add a little bit of honey or brown sugar".

What can a patient with CKD do to quench thirst?

A person with CKD, in addition to controlling salt, sugar, and the consumption of certain foods, should also measure the liquids they consume. That’s why Baxter RCS nutritionist has these tips for them:

• Have good oral hygiene after meals. This can make you feel cooler and decrease thirst.
• Try to stay in the shade.
• Chew your food slowly. This produces more saliva and you won’t need a lot of fluids with your food.
• Rinse your mouth with water, water with lemon and baking soda, or an infusion of mint, oregano or peppermint before meals, but without consuming it.
• Breathe with the mouth closed. The air dries the mucosa of the mouth and throat, increasing the feeling of thirst.
• You can freeze part of a liquid and consume in pieces during the day.
• Use slices of lemon, green grapes, uvillas, blackberry, strawberry or cold mortiño to stimulate salivation and relieve dry mouth.
• Cold tea and lemonade quench thirst better than soft drinks and soda.
• Use cocoa butter or petroleum jelly on the lips.
• Put under or in the center of the tongue 4 drops of lemon.
• Use gum or mints when thirsty. They should not have sugar.
• Dip lettuce leaves in a refractory with water and keep them in the fridge. When thirsty eat one.
• Avoid leaving in warmer weather.
• Remember to eat fruits like watermelon, melon, or pineapple.


Can excessive alcohol use affect a healthy person’s kidneys and lead to CKD?

Overconsuming liquor doesn’t just affect people with CKD. Actually, abusing it can lead to this chronic disease. The nursing assistant, Jaime Guadir, concludes that: "When a person ingests alcohol in excess, these can cause severe damage to organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. Kidney disease is considered a multifactorial pathology, and one of them is excessive consumption of liquor".