When you’re diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, it’s only natural to have a lot of questions. One of the best steps that you can take is to learn more about CKD — how your kidneys work, what are the risks in your CKD stage, or what you can do next. The more aware you are, the better equipped you will be to participate in your next steps and make the right decisions that are right for you.
That’s what 63-year old Mary felt when she was diagnosed with CKD stage 3 back in February 2022. She had a lot of questions and the more she knew, the more she realized that she needed to be able to manage her condition better to protect her kidneys from even more damage.
It took her time to get used to her diagnosis —and the mix of emotions that came with it. Fear, anger, grief, and feeling overwhelmed are all normal reactions after hearing it from your doctor. But it didn’t stop her from finding the answers she needed.
When she scheduled a call with us through one of our RenalTracker blogs, she explained to us what her doctor had told her and told us her goals as well, and luckily enough, we have what she was looking for.
Now, it’s always important that the sooner you know that you have Chronic Kidney Disease, or any other diseases, the better. That means that you can take the necessary steps you protect your kidneys from damage and improve your overall health.
So, I’m going to tell you exactly what we told her. Here are the 9 Ways to Managing Kidney Disease:
1. Manage your blood sugar
It’s important to check your blood glucose level regularly. The results that come from it will help guide decisions with food, physical activity, and even your medications. So, be sure to ask your healthcare provider on how often you should check them.
Your healthcare provider will also test your A1C. This is a blood test that will measure your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. This is different from the blood glucose checks that you do on a regular basis. The higher your A1C number is, the higher your blood glucose levels have been during those past 3 months. Be sure to stay close to your daily blood glucose numbers to help meet your A1C goal.
But before doing so, you should ask your healthcare provider what your goal should be since reaching your goal numbers will help protect your kidneys.
2. Control your blood pressure
Controlling your blood pressure is one of the most important steps to take when managing your kidney disease since it can damage your kidneys. To protect them, you can keep them at or less than the goal set by your healthcare provider. For most, the blood pressure goal is less than 140/90 mmHg.
So, work with your healthcare provider to develop a sure plan to meet your blood pressure goals such as eating low-sodium meals and heart-healthy meals.
3. Take your prescribed medications
Many people who are diagnosed with CKD take prescribed medicines in order to lower blood pressure, control blood glucose, as well as lower cholesterol.
Many people need to take two or more medicines for their blood pressure since you need to meet your blood pressure goal. These medicines may work better if you also limit your salt intake.
4. Stop smoking
Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse. Quitting this habit may help you meet your blood pressure goals, which is good for your kidneys, and can lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
5. Get enough sleep
You need to aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep is important to your overall physical and mental health and can help you meet your blood pressure and blood glucose goals.
6. Aim for a healthy weight
Being overweight makes your kidneys work harder and may damage your kidneys. It also increases your risk of developing conditions associated with kidney failure, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
7. Exercise regularly
You can aim for 30 minutes or more on most days. Exercising regularly can help you reduce stress, manage your weight, and achieve your blood pressure and blood glucose goals. If you are not active now, you can ask your health care provider about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.
8. Work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan
Watching what you eat and drink can help you:
protect your kidneys
reach your blood pressure and blood glucose goals
prevent or delay health problems caused by kidney disease
As your kidney disease gets worse, you may need to make more changes in your diet. So, you need to work closely with your dietitian to learn to eat right for your kidney condition.
9. Reduce stress
Not being able to handle stress can raise your blood pressure and your blood glucose which can lead to depression. Some of the steps that were mentioned earlier are healthy ways to cope with stress. For example, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can help reduce stress. Listening to your favorite music or meditating may also help reduce stress. But it’s also important to reach out and talk to a family member, friend, or even a support group who will listen to your feelings.
And that’s what Mary did. Yes, it seems like a lot to take in at first, as well as challenging to be able to incorporate everything to make it work, but with the right guidance and support, she was able to achieve her goals in less than 6 months. And you can too...
Your Next Step
If you want to know more about how Mary was able to manage her kidney disease, you can click here to get started.