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"Dialysis Diet: Potassium Vs. Phosphate"
Written by Syaidatun Yahya, Dietitian, National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia


Both ‘potassium’ and ‘phosphate’ are minerals found in most of the foods we eat, and one of the functions of our kidneys is to control the amount of both these minerals in the blood. However, the potassium and phosphate can build-up to high levels in the blood for patients with kidneys failure.



High potassium levels in blood tends to lead to other complications such as body weakness, muscle cramps, breathing difficulty, irregular heartbeats and - worst of all, heart attack.

In addition, high phosphate levels in the blood also increases the risk of one having weak and brittle bones, itching, as well as calcium deposits in blood vessels and organs in the body.

It is essential for dialysis patients to understand the type of foods that contains potassium and phosphate and that some foods contain high levels of both minerals – double danger!

Dialysis patients will be able to better self-manage their condition and diet upon understanding useful tips regarding foods and their mineral contents, especially the double dangers as these are best to be avoided or to be consumed in very small amount.

Most of the high potassium foods come from plants; therefore certain fruits and vegetables tend to be high potassium sources.

On the other hand, foods that are high in phosphate are usually meat, poultry, fish and seafood variety. It is also interesting to note that foods which falls under the double danger category (high in both potassium and phosphate) inclusive of dairy products, nuts, seeds, chocolate and wholegrain products.

'High Potassium' - Fruits & Vegetables

'High Phosphate' - Meat & poultry, fish & seafood, eggs, dried beans & peas

'High Potassium & Phosphate' - Milk, dairy products, nuts & seeds, chocolate-based products, whole grain products
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