16 May Six Ways to Drink Less and Still Control Thirst this Summer

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Many people dream of sipping lemonade while gently rocking in a hammock during the sultry summer days. Yet, for people with kidney failure, the lemonade, or more specifically the amount of lemonade they drink, could be a problem.

For people with normal kidney function, their kidneys help to regulate the amount of fluid in the body. When a person has kidney failure, the kidneys are not able to remove the excess fluid from the body. While many people with kidney failure rely on dialysis to remove fluid, they still must be careful to stay within strict fluid limits. Too much fluid may cause swelling, shortness of breath, or high blood pressure, which can have severe consequences. Also, the more fluid a person consumes between dialysis treatments means the more fluid that has to be removed during a dialysis treatment. This can lead to a longer or less comfortable treatment.

During the hot summer days, controlling thirst can become a complicated matter for people with kidney failure. We asked DCI dietitian, Amy See, RD, of DCI Warrensburg, Missouri, to suggest ways to control thirst while drinking less

1. A light spray may help combat dry mouth

  • Using a refreshing spray can re-wet the mouth and will use less fluid than drinking from a container. Amy suggests:
    • Mint spray: 1 teaspoon peppermint extract in 1 cup of water. Mix together in spray bottle. Spritz as needed.
    • Lemon spray: ½ cup lemon juice in ½ cup of water. Mix together in spray bottle. Use as needed

2. Frozen or cold fruit helps to control thirst

  • Ice can sometimes quench thirst better than water. Try freezing lemon juice with water to make lemon ice cubes. Also, try sucking on frozen grapes.

3. Chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free mints

  • Eating salty and sugary foods can encourage thirst. Avoid high sodium and concentrated sweets. To combat cravings, chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free mints.

4. Take medications with applesauce instead of liquid


5. Avoid the hottest part of the day and stay out of direct sun

  • Try avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.

6. Keep a fluid and food diary

  • Many people with kidney failure may not realize how much fluid they eat or drink. Anything that pours or melts is a fluid. Also, certain foods, such as watermelon, contain large amounts of fluid. Keep a fluid and food diary to identify what is consumed over time.
  • While a nephrologist, kidney doctor, will make an individual recommendation, most people with kidney failure should limit their fluid intake to around four cups per day.

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