Have you ever heard of dysgeusia? Dysgeusia is a condition in which someone’s taste is altered, making all foods taste either bitter, sour, sweet, or metallic. Research has shown that dysgeusia is common in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). But why is that, and how can people with CKD help improve food taste?
Cooking Up A Family explains that uremia could be one cause of dysgeusia in those with CKD. Uremia is a condition in which abnormally high levels of waste products, such as urea and nitrogenous waste compounds, are found in the blood rather than being excreted through urine by the kidneys. Uremia can cause bad breath and a metallic or ammonia-esque taste in the mouth. This metallic taste can keep people from eating the foods that they like, as the taste might change. Additionally, people may also find that meat loses its taste or that the protein becomes off-putting.
To limit uremia and stop dysgeusia, it is recommended to lower one’s sodium count – ingesting less than 2,300mg daily. That includes:
- Eating less processed food
- Speaking with a dietitian or nutritionist to prepare an eating plan
- Engaging in portion control
- Limiting salty snacks, foods, or even drinks – and being aware of the sodium levels in each
- Asking waiters/waitresses for low-sodium dishes while out eating
- Opting for leafy green vegetables
- Cook at home using fresh, healthy ingredients
Of course, changing your diet is only one part of managing your condition. Other elements include dialysis, medications, supplements, and even transplantation. If you have CKD, please speak with your doctor about how to best manage your specific treatment plan.
What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
Chronic kidney disease, or chronic kidney failure, is a condition characterized by gradually worsening kidney function and kidney damage. Normally, the kidneys help filter waste and excess fluid from the blood. But in those with CKD, the kidneys are unable to filter this waste and fluid. As these accumulate in the body, a number of health issues may occur. Currently, an estimated 26 million Americans – and around 800 million people worldwide – have CKD. Typically, CKD occurs when some sort of disease or condition impairs kidney functions. Potential causes include high blood pressure, diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, urinary tract obstructions, vesicoureteral refux, recurrent kidney infections, interstitial nephritis, and glomerulonephritis.
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease can, but do not always, include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
- Appetite loss
- Fatigue, general malaise, and overall weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Increased thirst
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Pruritus (intense itchiness)
- Stunted growth
- Swelling of the lower extremities
- Muscle cramping
- High blood pressure
- Enlarged spleen and/or liver
- Changes in urinary frequency or volume