Managing chronic kidney disease can be a challenge. But there are things you can do to help.
The kidneys are tiny organs that filter blood and remove extra water and waste products from your body. They also regulate electrolyte balance and keep your bones healthy.
Take it One Day at a Time
When you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, there is a lot that you will need to learn about your new life. You will have to change your lifestyle and adjust to various treatments, including dialysis.
Your doctor will provide advice and recommendations to help you cope with the diagnosis. This may include changes in diet, exercise, and other ways to manage your condition.
It would help if you also talked with your family about how they can support you. If you have children, you can ask them to help you by making appointments with the healthcare team and taking on some of your responsibilities at home.
Kidney disease can affect your mental and emotional health. It can lead to feelings of worry, stress, and depression.
Living with a chronic illness can also take a toll on the emotional well-being of family members. They may feel overwhelmed by the diagnosis and the treatment required, as well as the changes in their lives.
If you have a child with kidney disease, you can make it easier on them by preparing them for the diagnosis and helping them to understand their medical conditions. It is also important to get them involved in a support group, so they can have an opportunity to share their experiences with others who have the same condition.
Talk to Your Doctor
It can be scary and confusing if you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Talking to your doctor about how you feel can help you get through this difficult time.
Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam and ask about any medications you are taking, symptoms, and family members with kidney problems. They will then order blood and urine tests.
A blood test will show how well your kidneys filter your blood – the glomeruli filtration rate (GFR). This is how many milliliters of blood per minute your kidneys can filter, and it is used to determine your stage of CKD.
The test also tells your doctor if you have high blood pressure, an important risk factor for CKD. This means you must work with your healthcare provider/nephrologist to keep your blood pressure under control.
Getting enough sleep is another important step for people who have kidney disease. Studies have shown that regular, good-quality sleep helps protect your kidneys from damage and improves overall health.
It is also recommended that you follow the directions on all over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc), and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Using too many painkillers can lead to kidney damage.
Get Plenty of Sleep
It can be very upsetting if you’ve been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. There’s a lot to learn, and you must adjust to a new way of living.
It’s important to stay positive. Keeping your mental health in check will make it easier to cope with diagnosing chronic kidney disease and its treatment.
Talking about your feelings is the best way to deal with them. You may find it helpful to share your emotions with other people with kidney disease or seek support from a counselor.
The social worker at your dialysis unit or transplant clinic can also be a good source of help and support. They can help you come to terms with the illness and how it affects your life, body image, or relationships.
A diet low in sodium and potassium can help control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, a common problem in people with kidney disease. Consult a dietitian about dietary changes appropriate for your health and your type of kidney disease.
Eat a Healthy Diet
People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) need to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. Exercise can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, increase muscle strength and energy, and reduce the risk of other health problems associated with CKD, like depression or anxiety.
Dietary changes can also help manage other common conditions in people with CKD, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In general, you should limit foods high in saturated and trans fats and focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and low-fat poultry.
A kidney-friendly diet also should include plenty of water and low-sodium fluids. Salt is one of the most common dietary culprits that can harm kidney function, so you’ll need to learn to read food labels and avoid processed foods with added sodium.
The diagnosis of chronic kidney disease can be stressful. You will have to learn all about your illness and begin a new treatment plan. It can also be overwhelming to have to change your lifestyle.
Exercise can help you feel good and boost your energy levels. It will also make you stronger and more in control of your health.
It is recommended that kidney patients do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. It can be as simple as a brisk walk or taking the stairs at work or home.
Research shows that regular physical activity can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of many diseases. It also improves your mood and helps you sleep better.
If you need some guidance, many resources are available online. These include exercise programs, support groups, and written materials.