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10 Tips on Living Well with Chronic Kidney Disease


Daughter hugging senior mother over the shoulder.

An article written by Jill Waters, owner and founder of Senior Choice:

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition that affects the kidneys' ability to function properly and is something I was diagnosed with in February 2021 after a routine lab check-up. It is also a long-term condition that requires careful management to maintain a good quality of life. I received a kidney transplant in June 2022 which allowed me to relax on the first tip, but the rest of the tips and strategies listed below I still follow to this day in order to live a healthy life with chronic kidney disease.


1. Follow a healthy diet…

A well-balanced diet is crucial for individuals with CKD. It is important to limit the intake of sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, as these can put additional strain on the kidneys due to the inability to thoroughly remove excess nutrients out of the body which can be dangerous at high levels. A dietitian can help create a personalized meal plan that meets the specific dietary needs of individuals with CKD. After my kidney transplant, I was able to ease up on these limitations and enjoy foods I had to avoid to keep my kidneys and I healthy.


2. Stay hydrated…

Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for kidney health. It helps flush out toxins and waste products from the body. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare professional to determine what the appropriate amount of fluid intake is for your body and personalized circumstances, as excessive fluid intake can be harmful for individuals undergoing dialysis due to CKD.


3. Manage blood pressure…

High blood pressure is a common complication of CKD. It was important for me to monitor my blood pressure daily and take prescribed medications to keep levels within a healthy range. Lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, stress management, and a healthy diet can also help in managing blood pressure.


4. Control blood sugar levels…

Individuals with diabetes, like myself, are at a higher risk of developing CKD. Managing blood sugar levels through medication, regular exercise, eating more fiber and managing carb intake are all important for blood sugar control. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is also crucial for individuals with CKD and diabetes.

(Notice the trend here with the healthy diet and exercise recommendations!)


5. Quit smoking…

Smoking can worsen kidney damage and increase the risk of kidney disease progression. If you’re still smoking, quitting now is essential in order to improve overall health and slow down the progression of CKD.


6. Exercise regularly…

Regular physical activity can help improve overall health and well-being in individuals with CKD. It can help control blood pressure levels, manage weight, and help reduce the risk of other chronic conditions. I had been an avid walker every day before my transplant, and I still am today. However, don’t forget to consult with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.


7. Take prescribed medications…

Individuals with CKD often require medications to manage their condition. It is important to take medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals and follow up regularly to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.


8. Manage stress…

Chronic kidney disease can be very emotionally challenging. It is important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies, or seeking support from friends, family, or support groups. You are not alone!


9. Get regular check-ups…

Regular check-ups with healthcare professionals are crucial for individuals with CKD. These check-ups help monitor kidney function, blood pressure, and other important health markers. They also provide an opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions related to the condition.


10. Educate yourself…

Knowledge is power when it comes to managing chronic kidney disease. It is important to educate yourself about the condition, its symptoms, treatment options, and lifestyle modifications. This will empower you to make informed decisions about your health and actively participate in your treatment plan.


Living well with chronic kidney disease requires a holistic approach that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, medication management, stress management, and regular check-ups. By following these tips and strategies, individuals with CKD can improve their quality of life and slow down the progression of the disease. Remember, it is important to consult your healthcare professionals for personalized advice and guidance.

 

Explore more informational senior lifestyle articles: here! Or, find a delicious and healthy recipe to make: here!

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