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Looking after ourselves:

Fluid: Kidneys control how much water our body retains from what we eat and drink.

Before the kidneys truly stop working it is recommended to drink at least about one and half litres of fluid a day. This is to keep well hydrated which can help the kidneys last longer. When the kidneys do stop working (often after dialysis has started) people often have to change this habit and cut down on how much they drink.

When kidneys don't work we can get overloaded with fluid. This can get dangerous if too much water is retained in our body.

If on water pills be careful to take the right dose. Taking too much could damage (dehydrate) the kidneys. Perhaps there is a need to cut down on the salt which can retain fluid in the body.

When the kidneys are really on their last legs or fully failed a fluid restriction might be needed. This is often needed after dialysis has started.

Stick to a fluid restriction only when put on one. (Restricting fluid unnecessarily could dehydrate and harm kidneys.)

You will be told when a fluid restriction is going to be beneficial.  For many, fluid restricting is not easy and people have to find their own way to manage this. Speaking to dietitians and to others on dialysis can help.

Joining the Norwich support group (UNKPA) and the links on this page might support you in learning how to manage better with the problems people can have with renal failure.

For information from the Norwich renal dietitians about fluid click here.