With 20 million patients across the globe, there’s no doubt that living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a reality for many. Presently, there is no cure for CKD, though treatment can slow down its progress. This is why it’s so essential you and your loved ones get regular screenings and check-ups.
While living with a critical illness such as CKD is never easy, here are a few tips and tricks that we have found can help make things a lot better.
Adopt a kidney-friendly diet
When you are diagnosed with any form of kidney disease, it becomes important to be aware of what you are eating. It is a good idea to check labels on food products and packages. You can also use apps or the internet to check the nutritional value and major ingredients of the food you eat.
Avoid junk and processed food as these can cause diabetic kidney disease from the accumulation of sugar in the blood.
Reduce your salt consumption by using herbs and spices as seasoning to flavour your bland (low-salt) meals, especially mint, ginger and turmeric.
If you are having a tough time fighting cravings, speak with your doctor or dietician to discover healthier alternatives to cakes, bread, and chocolates.
For patients on dialysis, it is important to limit your potassium, sodium and phosphorous intake. Fresh fruits and frozen/fresh vegetables often contain no salt, making them a kidney-healthy food. Canned fruits, however, can have unduly high levels of potassium.
It is advisable to avoid caffeine and replace dairy products with low-phosphorous non-dairy items.
To avoid protein deficiency, seek leaner sources of proteins such as eggs and seafood instead of red meat, and keep cholesterol in check.
Smoking is an absolute no-no for a kidney disease patient. Smoking reduces blood flow to the kidneys, narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys, and accelerates the loss of kidney function.
Regular exercise or sport can be a great boost for your mood and energy and can also keep your body functioning well. If you find yourself unable to indulge in these activities, a brisk walk around the neighbourhood, climbing up and down a few flights of stairs, or even doing some basic stretches at home can help.
It is also essential to get adequate rest, so your body can repair and revitalise. Get around seven hours of sleep every night to keep your kidneys healthy.
Keep your spirits up
Undergoing treatment for CKD can be trying for patients and their loved ones alike, but it is important that you continue to socialise and avoid isolating yourself. Some people have even found it useful to expand their social circle to include their doctor, dietician, pathologist, and any nursing staff with whom they are in constant contact. This helps to open up dialogue, especially on difficult or sensitive topics.
Most importantly, remember that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Keep yourself busy with productive endeavours – be it your career, household renovations or a hobby- and continue to go to work, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Over 200,000 kidney failures occur in India annually, threatening and debilitating the lives of the p and their families. However, CKD can be controlled and reined in from advancing to end-stage renal failure. Follow the tips above to ensure that you live your life to the fullest, no matter what.