Patient education for phosphorus management in chronic kidney disease
Harold Simmons Center for Kidney Disease Research and Epidemiology, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of California Irvine’s School of Medicine, Irvine, CA, USA
Objectives: This review explores the challenges and solutions in educating patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to lower serum phosphorus while avoiding protein insufficiency and hypercalcemia.
Methods: A literature search including terms “hyperphosphatemia,” “patient education,” “food fatigue,” “hypercalcemia,” and “phosphorus–protein ratio” was undertaken using PubMed.
Results: Hyperphosphatemia is a strong predictor of mortality in advanced CKD and is remediated via diet, phosphorus binders, and dialysis. Dietary counseling should encourage the consumption of foods with the least amount of inorganic or absorbable phosphorus, low phosphorus-to-protein ratios, and adequate protein content, and discourage excessive calcium intake in high-risk patients. Emerging educational initiatives include food labeling using a “traffic light” scheme, motivational interviewing techniques, and the Phosphate Education Program – whereby patients no longer have to memorize the phosphorus content of each individual food component, but only a “phosphorus unit” value for a limited number of food groups. Phosphorus binders are associated with a clear survival advantage in CKD patients, overcome the limitations associated with dietary phosphorus restriction, and permit a more flexible approach to achieving normalization of phosphorus levels.
Conclusion: Patient education on phosphorus and calcium management can improve concordance and adherence and empower patients to collaborate actively for optimal control of mineral metabolism.
Keywords: hyperphosphatemia, renal diet, phosphorus binders, educational programs, food fatigue, concordance