World Kidney Day Is Over, But It’s Still National Kidney Month

Maybe it’s because I’m so enmeshed with anything early stage Chronic Kidney Disease, but I find myself constantly surprised by all the people who don’t know a thing about it – many of them suffering from high blood pressure (the second most prevalent cause of CKD) or diabetes (the first most prevalent cause of CKD).  I shouldn’t be.  I was one of them until I was diagnosed… and that’s why I’m so adamant about ‘getting the word out there,’ as I’ve come to call my passion.

One of my daughters, a blogger, asked me to guest blog about this issue last week.  While Nima was making her request to me, her sister – Abby – was surprising us all with a ticket for Nima to visit.  Abby and I live in Arizona; Nima lives in New York so visits are not all that frequent. I was thrilled!!!!

Unfortunatley, Abby ended up getting pretty sick, so Nima stayed with us for a few days.  And we talked, and talked, and talked.  I told her I was still angry that, because I have CKD, the chances of her (and her sister) developing it is higher.  She asked me questions about the diet and exercise.  We ended up sharing a meal each and every time we went to a restaurant and leaning more toward the food on the renal diet rather than food that isn’t. Right now, she’s walking my dog while I blog (*sigh* guess I’ll have to figure out my own exercise for today later).

Maybe today is the day to go back to basics about dealing with Chronic Kidney Disease in my blog.  Let’s start with the American Kidney Fund’s information:

Eat a diet low in salt and fat

Eating healthy can help prevent or control diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.  A healthy diet has a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats and beans.  Even small changes like limiting salt (sodium) and fat, can make a big difference in your health.

Limit salt

  • Do not add salt to your food when cooking or eating.  Try cooking with fresh herbs, lemon juice or other spices.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.  If you do use canned vegetables, rinse them before eating or cooking with them to remove extra salt.
  • Shop for items that say “reduced-sodium” or “low-sodium.”
  • Avoid processed foods like frozen dinners and lunch meats.
  • Limit fast food and salty snacks, like chips, pretzels and salted nuts.

Limit fat

  • Choose lean meats or fish.  Remove the skin and trim the fat off your meats before you cook them.
  • Bake, grill or broil your foods instead of frying them.
  • Shop for fat-free and low-fat dairy products, salad dressing and mayonnaise.
  • Try olive oil or canola oil instead of vegetable oil.
  • Choose egg whites or egg substitute rather than whole eggs.

Choosing healthy foods is a great start, but eating too much of healthy foods can also be a problem.  The other part of a healthy diet is portion control (watching how much you eat).  To help control your portions, you might:

  • Eat slowly and stop eating when you are not hungry anymore.  It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full.
  • Check nutrition facts to learn the true serving size of a food.  For example, a 20-ounce bottle of soda is really two and a half servings.
  • Do not eat directly from the bag or box.  Take out one serving and put the box or bag away.
  • Avoid eating when watching TV or driving.
  • Be mindful of your portions even when you do not have a measuring cup, spoon or scale.

 Be physically active

Exercise can help you stay healthy.  To get the most benefit, exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days of the week.  If that seems like too much, start out slow and work your way up.  Look for fun activities that you enjoy.  Try walking with a friend, dancing, swimming or playing a sport.  Adding just a little more activity to your routine can help.  Exercise can also help relieve stress, another common cause of high blood pressure.

 Keep a healthy weight

Keeping a healthy weight can help you manage your blood sugar, control your blood pressure, and lower your risk for kidney disease.  Being overweight puts you more at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.  Talk to your doctor about how much you should weigh.  If you are overweight, losing just a few pounds can make a big difference.

 Control your cholesterol

Having high cholesterol, especially if you have diabetes, puts you more at risk for kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.  It can also cause diabetic kidney disease to get worse faster.

For most people, normal cholesterol levels are:

  • Total Cholesterol: Less than 200
  • HDL (“good” cholesterol): More than 40
  • LDL (“bad” cholesterol): Less than 100

Your triglycerides are also important.  People with high triglycerides are more at risk for kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.  For most people, a healthy triglyceride level is less than 150.

If your total cholesterol, LDL or triglycerides are high, or if your HDL is low, talk to your doctor.  Your doctor may suggest exercise, diet changes or medicines to help you get to a healthy cholesterol level.

 Take medicines as directed

To help protect your kidneys, take medicines as directed.

Some medicines may help you manage conditions that can damage your kidneys, like diabetes or high blood pressure.  Ask your doctor how to take any medicines he or she prescribes.  Make sure to take the medicines just how your doctor tells you.  This may mean taking some medicines, like blood pressure medicines, even when you feel fine.   Other medicines can harm your kidneys if you take them too much.  For example, even over-the-counter pain medicines can damage your kidneys over time.  Follow the label directions for any medicines you take.  Share with your doctor a list of all of your medicines (even over-the-counter medicines and vitamins) to help make sure that you are not taking anything that may harm your kidneys.

 Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol in large amounts can cause your blood pressure to rise.  Limiting how much alcohol you drink can help you keep a healthy blood pressure.  Have no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man and no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman.

 Avoid tobacco

Using tobacco (smoking or chewing) puts you more at risk for high blood pressure, kidney disease and many other health problems.  If you already have kidney disease, using tobacco can make it get worse faster.

If you use tobacco, quitting can help lower your chances of getting kidney disease or help slow the disease down if you already have it.

You can find this information and more at: http://www.kidneyfund.org

This blog has a p.s. after the farewell.  Be sure to read it for a another really delightful surprise and until next week,

Keep living your life!

Nima is also my computer guru, so she showed me quite a bit while she’s here – including how to see the number of people ‘Talking About’  the Facebook page at Facebook.com/WhatHowEarlyCKD (which includes this blog).  Sit down before you read these numbers.

  • Countries
    12,968,464
    United States of America
    1,802,022
    United Kingdom
    1,324,900
    India
    997,242
    Canada
    735,784
    Australia
    718,074
    Philippines
    278,090
    Malaysia
    265,313
    Pakistan
    146,796
    Italy
    139,240
    Ireland
    137,382
    Turkey
    137,199
    Tunisia
    133,749
    Germany
    132,983
    United Arab Emirates
    131,905
    New Zealand
    122,384
    Egypt
    106,798
    Mexico
    104,727
    Saudi Arabia
    102,007
    Singapore
    90,359
    South Africa
  • Languages
    17,461,481
    English (US)
    3,197,319
    English (UK)
    248,597
    French (France)
    236,736
    Spanish
    132,372
    Turkish
    127,798
    Italian
    104,827
    German
    74,151
    Spanish (Spain)
    65,797
    Arabic
    61,022
    English (Pirate)
    52,742
    Indonesian
    51,763
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    43,362
    Thai
    31,794
    Dutch
    27,905
    Greek
    24,778
    Hungarian
    24,629
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    24,559
    Korean
    20,136
    Polish
    19,728
    Simplified Chinese (China)
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