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By DaVita® dietitian Susan Zogheib, MHS, RD
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician.
Here are two quick things to know about triglycerides: 1) The word is pronounced try-glis-er-ides and 2) they are fats, plain and simple. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your blood. They are used for energy and stored as body fat. .However, high levels of triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease.
Triglycerides are especially concerning in dialysis patients. People on dialysis are more likely than the general population to develop heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease. This increased risk is related to a person’s kidney disease and typically to other health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
In dialysis, protein plays a crucial role in the kidney diet because it helps fight infection, build muscle and repair tissues. It may be more challenging for people on dialysis to limit fat intake because of the increased need for protein. Some foods high in protein may also contain high amounts of triglycerides.
PD patients require a diet higher in protein than those on a hemodialysis diet because protein is removed through the peritoneal membrane with every dialysis exchange. As a result of the dietary increase in protein, PD patients also consume more fat than hemodialysis patients. In addition, triglycerides may also increase more in PD patients than hemodialysis patients because PD patients receive glucose in their PD dialysate which can be stored as fat. People on peritoneal dialysis (PD) need to monitor their fat intake a little more closely. Some proteins are also lost during hemodialysis, but not as much with PD.
A blood test can be done to measure your triglycerides. The most desirable level of triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. 150-199 mg/dL is borderline high and anything over 200 mg/dL is considered high.
Following a kidney-friendly diet that is low in unhealthy fats and sugars is important for dialysis patients to maintain their triglycerides in a safe range. It is essential for people on dialysis to follow the guidance from their doctor, nurse and dietitian to help prevent cardiovascular disease complications such as heart attacks and strokes. Make a heart-healthy choice by trimming triglycerides.
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