They’re only about the size of your fist, however, they are vital to our body’s operation. Kidneys work 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 with chronic kidney disease, successful management is extremely important in order to avoid further advancement to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- Regular kidney infections
- Diabetes (either type 1 or 2)
- Swelling of the glomeruli, or kidney filtering units
- Obstruction of the urinary tract over a prolonged length of time
- Family history
- Older age
- Irregular structure of the kidneys
- Individuals 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
- Ongoing itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
The good news is, there are some steps that people with chronic kidney disease, and their caregivers, can take to help keep the condition in check.
- Manage blood pressure. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is lower than 140/99 mm Hg. Your doctor can come up with a plan to make sure blood pressure levels stay within the recommended range, which could consist of reducing sodium and making other dietary changes, increasing physical activity levels, stopping smoking, and obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Keep up with checkups. Your physician will want to monitor kidney disease on a continuing basis, keeping track of any variations to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease tends to advance over time. The goal is to ensure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels both stay steady. Those with kidney disease can help by adhering to the prescribed testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and tracking/reporting any observable symptoms or changes noticed.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions specifically when as well as how they are prescribed is key, understanding that meds and dosage levels will fluctuate as the disease progresses. It is also important to be aware that some over-the-counter medications are not recommended for those with kidney disease, as they can possibly cause further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Speak with your physician for guidance.
- Make recommended changes in lifestyle. Work together with a nutritionist to develop a diet that will take care of your kidneys, and ask your physician to recommend an appropriate exercise routine to make sure you stay in shape. And don’t forget your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease can cause an unhealthy amount of stress, which can result in depression if left untreated.
The highly trained care team at Abby Senior Care can help those diagnosed with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a multitude of ways, including providing medication reminders, transportation to doctor appointments, shopping and healthy meal preparation, and more. Contact us at 303-699-8840 for more information on our at home care in Denver, CO and the surrounding communities.