Hemodialysis and Diabetes

What you need to know about management and diet

Chronic Renal Failure - Why do you need hemodialysis?

Chronic renal failure is progressive as well as irreversible. Due to renal failure, the body is unable to maintain metabolic and fluid electrolyte balance. Hemodialysis is needed to sustain life. Hemodialysis functions as an artificial kidney which will remove toxic substances as well as water from the blood. This process will occur three times a week and normally takes about 3 to 5 hours per treatment. This will be a lifetime commitment and it is important that you understand and ask as many questions as necessary to make you feel comfortable!

Here is a quick video to help explain hemodialysis further!


How to continue to control your diabetes:

While having diabetes mellitus Type 1 and receiving hemodialysis, it is still very important to continue to take insulin as prescribed by your doctor. The recommended blood sugar to maintain would be 90 to 130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL after meals. This goal should be reviewed and discussed with your doctor. However, with kidney disease, diet also plays a major role in diabetic management.

Diet for kidney disease management:

It is important to eat high-quality protein, fruits, vegetables, and starches. It also is beneficial to bake, roast, or grill meat instead of using a deep fryer. Choose foods that are low in fat and use healthy fats such as olive oil. Patients receiving hemodialysis should limit their intake of potassium, phosphate, sodium, and fluids. These substances can sometimes build up in your body when kidney function is impaired. Your body may not be able to get rid of these waste products and can be harmful if not restricted. FLUID RESTRICTIONS will be discussed with your doctor, as well as carbohydrate intake which will vary due to Type 1 diabetes. Below are food choices that will help you with a diet designed for hemodialysis and diabetes!


  • Can cause muscle aches and pains and can do damage to your heart, skin, and blood vessels if not restricted.
  • Foods to avoid: milk, cheese, beans, dried fruits, soda, chocolate, refrigerated doughs.
  • Foods low in phosphorus: soy milk, egg whites, all vegetables, cream cheese, sour cream, english muffins, pasta, corn flakes.


  • Too much potassium can negatively affect the heart and consumption should be lowered.
  • Foods to avoid: spinach, banana, dried beans and peas, dates, figs, all bran, yogurt, prune juice, chocolate, squash, potato chips, collard greens, green leafy vegetables.
  • Foods low in potassium: bagels, graham crackers, cucumbers, onion, apples, blueberries, cranberries, pineapple, sour cream, cheerios, rice cakes.


  • Excessive sodium will increase your blood pressure and increase thirst.
  • Foods to avoid: canned meats, bacon, biscuits, baked beans, spaghetti sauce, pickles, pudding, snack mixes, canned vegetables.
  • Foods low in sodium: all meats that are not cured, boiled eggs, cream of wheat, all fresh vegetables, all fruits, low sodium soups. Look at labels for low sodium!

Lifestyle management:

Diabetic management as well as hemodialysis are both timely. Due to having hemodialysis long term and frequently throughout the week, we understand that you may not be able to work. This can put a strain on finances and can be very devastating. We have many resources to help you and are always here to help you throughout any difficulties you are facing. Family support can also be very beneficial and therapeutic. We will help you manage your illness and refer you to any needed specialists (ex. nutritionist).