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Health Blog :: Managing Chronic Kidney Disease-How Can I Help?

December 30, 2022

Havingchronic kidney disease (CKD) means your kidneys are not working 100% and kidneys are not doing their tasks as usual and there is decreased function. There are many causes of decreased kidney function, aging, health related conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, and familial cystic kidneys are the common ones. However, whatever the cause, it should be taken seriously and managed carefully to delay and prevent serious complications like kidney failure that will eventually lead to needing dialysis or kidney transplant.


When you find out about CKD, doing your part and taking steps to manage your health can help delay development of further kidney damage.


As of now there are no cures for CKD, but there are actions you can take to achieve better health and hopefully prevent further kidney damage.


Here are some ideas:

Manage underlying conditions: Focus on what caused the kidney disease in the first place. The most common causes of CKD are high blood pressure and diabetes and if left uncontrolled, both conditions can contribute to continuing kidney damage. Pay attention to your blood pressure and A1C measurements.  Buy a blood pressure machine. Work with your primary doctor or your kidney doctor to set goals and take steps to achieve them.

Eat a healthy diet: This is not only good for your kidneys but also your heart and overall health. Concentrating on a healthy, low­-sodium, low-­fat diet can help you stay ahead of the game and healthy. If you are at later stages of kidney disease, your doctor or dietitian may also ask you to limit certain other nutrients like phosphorous and potassium that may be harmful to your kidney health. For questions about what to include or not include in your diet, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian who can help you come up with a kidney-­friendly meal plan. You can also find further information here.

Maintain proper weight: With CKD, being overweight not only it makes kidneys job more difficult, but it also contributes to higher blood pressure and insulin resistance making diabetes uncontrolled or put you at risk for it.  If you’re overweight, set small goals so you can achieve them and feel good about it. Get some weight loss tips.

Exercise regularly: Physical activity of any sort can help you manage your weight, reduce stress, and achieve lower blood pressure and blood glucose. 100 minutes of exercise a week, or 20 minutes 5 times a week promotes good overall health.  If this sounds difficult, start small—try taking a 10-minute walk, or if its rainy outside do indoor dance or 20-min walk videos on YouTube and build up from there. Find physical activity and weight management resources

Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes isn't good for your lungs or your heart, but it also isn't good for your kidneys. Smoking cigarettes is harmful and can make kidney damage worse, and negatively impact any medications you may be taking. Quitting cigarettes can be difficult. Get some online help or talk to your doctor for advice on smoking cessation aids.

Manage stress: If you are stressed out, your blood pressure and blood glucose levels can go up, which does not help your kidney health and it may negatively impact it. Try changing stressful environments and use relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. Exercise regularly to get the stress out, get enough quality sleep, and spend time with loved ones. There are healthy ways to cope with stress.

Learn your medications:  It is important to know what each of your medications are prescribed for and why you are taking them.  Stick to your treatment regimen as prescribed for you. Your doctor may change your medicines as your kidney disease gets worse over time.  Be aware of common side effects. Avoid over the counter pain medications called NSAIDS. They may be damaging for your kidneys. Watch this video to learn more. Discuss any new medicines prescribed with your pharmacist or kidney doctor.

Get vaccinated: CKD is a chronic condition that changes your immune response and puts you at risk of serious viral or bacterial infections. Prevention of infections are important with CKD. Talk to your doctor about whether you should get certain vaccinations, like those for the flu, COVID, shingles or pneumonia. It’s important to do everything you can to stay healthy.

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