Fri, Aug 09, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Watermelons risky for people with kidney disease

By Peng Chien-li and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Eating watermelons to cool down during the summer could be dangerous for people with kidney disease, a nephrologist in Miaoli County said after a 67-year-old patient developed severe edema.

Chen Meng-tsai (陳孟財), a nephrologist at Zhunan Clinic, said he noticed that the patient, surnamed Chen (李), who undergoes kidney dialysis at the clinic every week, had developed serious swelling in her arms and legs and gained 5kg.

Due to the hot weather, she had eaten a considerable amount of watermelon, causing a build-up of fluids in her body, he said.

While many people drink iced beverages or consume shaved ice or watermelons to cool down or quench their thirst on hot days, these habits are “very dangerous” for people with kidney disease, he said.

As a person’s kidney function deteriorates, the amount of urine they produce slowly decreases, he said.

Drinking large volumes of water or eating watermelons, which contain a large amount of water, contributes to the build-up of fluids in the person’s body, resulting in edema, Chen said.

In serious cases, fluids could accumulate in the lungs, causing shortness of breath, lower blood oxygenation or even respiratory failure and other emergency conditions, he said.

Thus, it is crucial for people with kidney disease to regulate their fluid intake, he added.

Daily fluid intake — from drinking water to soup, tea and other sources — should be 400ml to 500ml more than their daily urine output, Chen said, adding that the number can be adjusted to 600ml to 700ml in the summertime.

Before eating food with high water content, people with kidney disease should consult their doctors, who will determine how much they can eat, he said.

They should also maintain a low-potassium, low-phosphorus and low-sodium diet, Chen said.

They cannot eat starfruit as it contains neurotoxins that must be eliminated through the kidneys, he said.

Without proper kidney function, the toxins will accumulate inside the body, leading to poisoning, he added.

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