Take control of your kidney health
Join the 200,000+ people now educated on kidney health. Attend a no-cost virtual class (online or via telephone) from the comfort of home , or find an in-person class (where available).

Tips for Controlling Diabetes for Dialysis Patients

Provided by DaVita® Dietitians

Diabetes is the number one cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Once your CKD diagnosis has reached stage 5, also known as end stage renal disease (ESRD), you’ll need dialysis. As you may know, it’s imperative that you take charge of your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to maintain good health on dialysis.

Some of the tips that you’ve likely heard from your diabetes educator include monitoring and recording blood sugar levels throughout the day with a self-testing glucose monitor, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising on most days. These tips are tried and true.

Going off those sound recommendations, here are some more in-depth tips from DaVita dietitians that can help you control your diabetes when you’re on dialysis:

Diet tips for controlling diabetes

  • Eat three meals a day plus snacks to prevent blood sugar from going too high or too low.
  • Avoid high-calorie fried foods.
  • Eat recommended low-potassium fruits and vegetables to add fiber to your diet.
  • Substitute sugar with sugar-free alternatives such as Splenda® or Stevia® in beverages and baking.
  • Look for sugar-free candy and diet soda options to replace foods high in sugar.
  • Go for dietitian-recommended non-processed foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and lean meats.
  • Watch portion control and keep your daily calorie count in a healthy range.
  • Skip fad diets and eat sensibly.
  • Work with your dietitian to plan meals around dialysis treatment times, as well as develop plans for non-dialysis days vs. dialysis days.

Medication tips for controlling diabetes

  • Check blood sugar as often as prescribed.
  • Take diabetes medications as prescribed.
  • Discuss the timing of your medications with your doctor.
  • Monitor your blood glucose more frequently on dialysis days, particularly before you begin a dialysis treatment.

Activity tips for controlling diabetes

Disclaimer:Before starting any exercise program, discuss with your doctor about which exercises are best for you.

  • Reduce excess weight by exercising daily or at least three times a week.
  • When you do begin a workout routine, be sure it includes aerobic and resistance training, which lowers blood sugar to help keep blood glucose within a normal range.
  • Recruit an exercise partner to keep yourself on track.
  • Join a gym or sign up for a class to help motivate you to workout.


Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can be controlled when you’re on dialysis. It takes an understanding of eating a well-balanced diet, taking insulin (if prescribed) and prescribed medications, and being physically active. Taking charge of your diabetes with a thoughtful plan can improve your quality of life and reduce the possibilities of complications.