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A variety of large and small loaves of bread are displayed on a counter.
Figure 15.1 Complex carbohydrates, such as breads containing whole grains that are rich in fiber, can have positive effects on the renal system, helping to effectively eliminate waste from the body. (credit: modification of work “Loaves of nice bread” by ProjectManhattan/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)

The renal system, which comprises the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, works to eliminate liquid wastes from the body, manage fluid and electrolyte balance, and regulate blood pH, volume, and pressure. Nutrition markedly impacts this system and can affect morbidity and mortality of clients with abnormal or malfunctioning renal systems. This chapter focuses on assessment of the renal system and analysis of abnormal findings and potential illnesses. The chapter will illustrate how to use this knowledge to identify important nutritional needs and deficiencies to best educate clients on ways to improve morbidity and mortality surrounding renal system illnesses.

Consider this case: Jose Vasquez, a 55-year-old client in an outpatient care setting who returns frequently for regular health evaluations. The client’s diagnoses include obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 2. The client receives routine education on dietary and lifestyle changes needed to best preserve kidney function and prevent disease advancement.


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