They are only about the size of your fist, however, they’re imperative to your body’s performance. Kidneys serve as filters to get rid of waste from the body, but they also control our blood pressure and help with the production of red blood cells. For those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), successful management is crucial in order to avoid further development to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, among them:
- 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
- Increased age
- Irregular structure of the kidneys
- People of African-American, Asian-American, or Native American descent
CKD symptoms include:
- Sleeping or eating issues
- A decline in mental acuity
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Swollen ankles and/or feet
- Consistent itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
Thankfully, there are a number of steps that those with chronic kidney disease, and their caregivers, can take to keep the condition in check.
- Manage blood pressure. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is less than 140/99 mm Hg. A doctor can develop a plan to ensure blood pressure levels stay within the suggested range, which may include decreasing sodium and making other dietary changes, increasing physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and achieving sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Keep up with checkups. The doctor 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 objective is to make sure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels each remain steady. Those with kidney disease can help by sticking with the proposed testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and keeping track of/reporting any symptoms or changes detected.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions exactly when and how they are prescribed is key, knowing 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 those with kidney disease, as they can cause further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Talk with the physician for guidance.
- Make recommended lifestyle changes. Seek the guidance of a dietician to formulate a nutritional plan which will protect your kidneys, and ask your physician to recommend an appropriate exercise regimen to make sure you stay in good physical shape. And remember your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease can create an unhealthy amount of stress, which might bring about depression if left untreated.
The highly trained care team at Inspired Home Care can help people who have kidney disease improve health outcomes in a number of ways, including providing transportation to medical visits, helping clients adhere to medication schedules, shopping for and preparing meals, and more. Contact us at 847-787-7572 for more information on our top-rated Algonquin home health services and to find out if our compassionate care team works in your community!