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What Can I Do About Kidney Disease?
- High blood pressure—Blood passes through filters in the kidney, which remove excess fluid and waste. High blood pressure puts too much stress on these filters and damages them. Fewer filters decrease the kidneys’ ability to function.
- Diabetes—The disease process often causes damage to smaller blood vessels. When smaller blood vessels in the kidney are damaged, blood cannot pass through to be filtered.
- Kidney disease—There are conditions that directly affect the kidney like infections, hereditary cystic disease, and inflammatory disease that can directly impair kidney function or damage kidney parts.
- Toxins—Certain toxins, typically from long-term exposure, damage the kidney. This can include alcohol, cocaine, heavy metals, and solvents. As the kidney tries to remove the toxin, it can be exposed to higher amounts.
- Renal artery stenosis —In arterial stenosis, blood vessels are narrowed and can become blocked. This impairs or even stops blood flow. If blood cannot pass through the kidneys it cannot be filtered.
- Protein is a vital part of your diet. It works to build muscle and repair tissue. However, when the body is done using it, there is a waste product called urea. A weakened kidney may have trouble filtering this. This includes protein from animal and plant sources. You need protein in your diet, but work with a dietitian to understand just how much you actually need and how to reduce it if necessary.
- Calorie intake can consist largely of proteins. If you have decreased the amount of protein you eat, you may need to substitute healthy fats or carbohydrates to keep well-nourished. A well-nourished diet can provide all the necessary nutrients in appropriate amount of calories. Being overweight will also place extra stress on your kidneys and increase your risk of heart disease. Talk with a dietitian to create a balanced plan.
- Phosphorus is a chemical commonly found in dairy products, nuts, dried beans, and beverages like soft drinks, cocoa, and beer. A damaged kidney may not be able to remove this from your blood. High levels of phosphorus in the blood can decrease calcium in your bones, making them susceptible to breaking.
- Sodium is an element tied to high blood pressure and kidney disease. It can affect your fluid levels. It is not only found in table salt that you add to your food, but is already included in many products, particularly snack foods, fast foods, and luncheon meats.
- Overall health—Staying physically active can help your entire body work better. This will give you more energy, decrease wear and tear on joints and bones, and decrease the burden on your heart.
- Disease management—Health concerns closely related to kidney disease, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol , and diabetes, can be prevented or managed with regular physical activity.
- Mind boost—Managing a chronic disease can be very stressful. Physical activity has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety.
End-Stage Renal Disease
Be Part of Your Medical Team
Life Options http://www.lifeoptions.org/
National Kidney Foundation http://www.kidney.org/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Kidney Foundation of Canada http://www.kidney.ca/
Chronic kidney disease. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/treatment.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed September 24, 2012.
Chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 18, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
Keep your kidneys healthy. National Kidney Disease Education Program website. Available at: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov/learn/keep-kidneys-healthy.shtml. Updated September 7, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
The kidneys and how they work. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/. Updated March 23, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
Kidney disease basics. National Kidney Disease Education Program. Available at: hhttp://www.nkdep.nih.gov/learn/kidney-disease-basics.shtml . Accessed September 24, 2012.
Nutrition and chronic kidney disease. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/pdf/nutri%5Fchronic.pdf. Accessed September 24, 2012.
What you should know about exercise. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/exercisewyska.cfm . Accessed September 24, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 09/24/2012