The importance of mineral balance
Calcium and phosphate are two important minerals that are essential for a healthy body. At normal levels, they play an important part in keeping your bones and teeth healthy. However, when you have chronic kidney disease, phosphate and calcium can build up in your body because your kidneys aren’t able to remove them efficiently. The extra phosphate and calcium can join together to form hard, painful deposits in your body called calcification. Calcification can also stiffen your arteries and make it harder for blood to be pumped around the body. This can cause serious health problems.
How can you maintain proper mineral balance?
Keeping your body in balance requires three important steps:
- Dialysis. If you are on dialysis, make sure you follow your peritoneal dialysis or haemodialysis regime closely.
- Diet. Follow the diet recommended by your dietitian.
- Phosphate binders. Take your phosphate binder with every meal and snack as prescribed by your physician.
Why do you need to take a phosphate binder?
Even with a low phosphate diet, most patients need extra help controlling the balance of phosphate in their bodies. Taken with all meals and snacks as prescribed by your physician, phosphate binders help clear away phosphate before it is taken up by your body and your levels become too high.
How do phosphate binders work?
Healthy kidneys filter out the phosphate you do not need. Since your kidneys cannot do this effectively, the phosphate binders you take absorb the excess phosphate. Like a sponge, these binders soak up the phosphate in the food you eat and prevent it from being absorbed into your bloodstream. The phosphate binder, along with the phosphate, passes out of your body in your faeces.
Things to remember in order for your phosphate binders to work properly
- Take your phosphate binder as prescribed, always together with your meals
- If you do not have anything to eat, do not take a phosphate binder because there is nothing to bind!
- Discuss your snacks with your doctor or dietitian to find out how much phosphate binder to take with different types of food
Keep your body in balance
- Follow your diet
- Take your phosphate binder with all meals and snacks as prescribed
- Talk to your doctor about which phosphate binder is right for you
- Ask your doctor, nurse or dietitian if you have any questions
When to take your medication
You should always remember to take the number of tablets or powder sachets recommended by your doctor. Taking your medication as directed is important to achieve optimal treatment of hyperphosphataemia and thus to reduce your risk of calcification which can lead to cardiovascular disease.