Nutritionist Updates

I got to see the nutritionist yesterday.  I was unaware that you are provided (by the government, no less) one free visit with your renal nutritionist per year.  One of the secretaries at the nephrologist’s office let that slip and I jumped on it making an appointment immediately.  Now why didn’t the nephrologist mention this or the nutritionist when I saw her the first time?

Remember I wrote about being too overwhelmed when you’re first diagnosed to catch everything you’ve being told and that’s why you need to either take notes or bring someone with you?  I think that’s what happened to me here.  In a very early visit to the nephrologist, he probably mentioned this and I didn’t catch it or the nutritionist actually did tell me this during our first visit and I was too busy trying to figure out what she meant by renal diet and food units to hear her fully. Let’s hear it for note taking and/or bringing a friend along.

Crystal, the nutritionist par excellence, gave me some ideas.  As you’ve probably figured out from reading the blog, I have a seemingly permanent battle on my hands: my weight.  When I could thoroughly exercise pushing myself for at least half an hour a day, it didn’t seem so bad.  Once I developed the difficult arthritis problem in my hips, I was stymied.  I continued to exercise anyway, but sometimes could only do it for ten minutes or not at all at a certain time.  I was starting to feel hopeless.  Crystal applied some common sense to my problem: exercise in spurts.  This way if I can only do ten minutes at a time, no big deal: I would keep working on my half hour during the day – even if it meant only minutes at a time – until I achieved my goal of half an hour. This is not the way I like to exercise, but it’s the best I can do with the hip. It’s only been one day, but I certainly don’t feel hopeless about the exercise part of losing weight anymore.

Crystal also told me that not eating until I was hungry is NOT a good idea.  I’ve been having a bit of a problem with blood sugar.  She suspects it may be because I don’t eat until I’m hungry and that causes sugar spikes.  Just as with the exercise, this is common sense, but nothing I thought of in connection with the weight and sugar problem.  Her suggestion was that I eat five or six little meals a day so that my blood sugar stayed constant.  She also mentioned this would help with weight loss because my body would no longer think I was starving and hold on to those extra calories.  Thinking about it, I remember my son-law – Aaron – told me this years ago.  I had simply forgotten and needed to be reminded.

There are days when I just don’t make the minimum 1100-1200 calories I’m allotted.  I was patting myself on the back for being so careful about caloric intake, but Crystal pointed out that going below this number of caloried may mean I’m getting enough nutrition in that particular day.  I do have a good appetite (sometimes too good!) but, especially when I’m writing, forget to eat because I’m just plain deliciously involved in what I’m doing.  I will have to make it a point to eat when I wake to avoid my body thinking I’m starving and holding on to calories, eat five or six small meals a day to ensure even sugar levels and make certain that I eat the minimum number of calories on my renal plan so that I am getting the nutrition I need each day.

The image in this blog – courtesy of National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health – demonstrates how all exercising helps to keep your impaired kidneys keep functioning to afford you clean blood.  You can’t see  yourself exercising in the image, of course, but you do get to see how the “blood with wastes” enters glomerulus of your kidney.  The tubules in the nephrons filter the wastes in the blood into your urine and only the clean blood recirculates through your body.

We’re all familiar with the GFR – Glomerulus Filtration Rate.  The diagram shows how different parts of the glomerulus, the tubules in the nephrons, within your kidneys, filter your blood.  Never again will you have to sit there scratching your head when your nephrologist refers to your GFR.  You’ve seen how it works and what the parts of the kidney are.

Published in: on January 25, 2011 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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