Phosphorus and Chronic Kidney Disease

Phosphorus is a mineral that may need to be limited if you have chronic kidney disease. It is found in virtually all foods, so if you are eating well, chances are you are eating a fair amount of phosphorus. Your dietitian can assist you in determining the proper amount of phosphorus for your particular situation.

As kidney function declines, the kidneys lose their ability to filter out excess phosphorus that comes from diet. 

Consequently, the phosphorus builds up in the blood and causes calcium deposits to form in the vessels around the heart, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. A high phosphorus level may also make your bones weaker and more brittle, increasing your risk of fractures and joint pain.

The goal for phosphorus levels is 2.5 4.5 mg/dl
The following are some of the foods that are high in phosphorus:

  • Dairy products
  • Cheese
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Colas
  • Cornbread and biscuits
  • Chocolate
  • Beer

If your phosphorus level remains high despite making diet changes, your kidney doctor may prescribe a phosphorus binder. This is a medication you can take with each meal to reduce the amount of phosphorus your body absorbs. You can take the medication before, during or after the meal, but it needs to be taken within 5 minutes of starting or finishing your meal. Some of the binders that we prescribe are Tums, Phoslo, Renagel, or Fosrenol.

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