They’re only about the size of your fist, but they are vital to your body’s functioning. Kidneys serve as filters to eliminate waste from the body, but they also control our blood pressure and help with the creation of red blood cells. For individuals diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), effective management is crucial to avoid further development to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Repeated kidney infections
- Diabetes (either type 1 or 2)
- Inflammation of the glomeruli, or kidney filtering units
- Obstruction of the urinary tract over a prolonged period of time
- Family history
- Older age
- Abnormal structure of the kidneys
- Those of African-American, Asian-American, or Native American descent
Kidney disease symptoms include:
- Sleeping or eating problems
- A decline in mental acuity
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Swollen ankles and/or feet
- Chronic itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
The good news is, there are some steps that individuals with chronic kidney disease, and their caregivers, can take to help with CKD management.
- Keep up with checkups. Your physician will need to monitor kidney disease on a continuing basis, keeping track of any variations to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease usually advances over time. The goal will be to make sure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels each remain consistent. Individuals with kidney disease can help by adhering to the suggested testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and tracking/reporting any symptoms or changes noted.
- Manage blood pressure. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is less than 140/99 mm Hg. Your doctor can come up with an approach to ensure that blood pressure levels stay inside of the suggested range, which can include decreasing sodium and making other dietary changes, boosting physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions exactly when and how they’re prescribed is key, understanding that meds and dosage levels will fluctuate as the disease progresses. It’s equally important to be aware that a number of over-the-counter medications are not recommended for anyone with kidney disease, as they possibly can cause further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Talk with your doctor for further information.
- Make recommended changes in lifestyle. Work with a nutritionist to formulate a meal plan designed to protect your kidneys, together with your doctor to recommend a suitable exercise routine to make sure you stay in shape. And remember your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease may increase an unhealthy amount of stress, that could trigger depression if left untreated.
The experienced care team at Live Free Home Health Care can help individuals with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a wide variety of ways, including providing accompanied transportation to medical appointments, help with adhering to a medication schedule, shopping for and preparing nutritious meals, getting out and about, and more. Email or give us a call at 603-217-0149 for additional details on our trusted home care in Bristol and the surrounding communities!