They are only around the size of your fist, but they’re imperative to your body’s functioning. Kidneys work as filters to eliminate waste from the body; however, they also regulate our blood pressure and aid in the creation of red blood cells. For individuals diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, successful management is critical in order to avoid further development to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, most notably:
- 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 timeframe
- 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 difficulties
- A decrease in mental acuity
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Swollen ankles and/or feet
- Ongoing itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
Thankfully, there are a number of steps that people with chronic kidney disease, and their caregivers, can take to keep the disease under control.
- Manage blood pressure. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is lower than 140/99 mm Hg. The doctor can put together a plan to make certain blood pressure levels stay inside the suggested range, which may include decreasing sodium and making other dietary changes, increasing exercise levels, stopping smoking, and obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Keep up with checkups. The doctor will want to monitor kidney disease on a consistent basis, keeping track of any changes to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease usually advances over time. The objective will be to ensure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels both stay consistent. Those with kidney disease can assist by adhering to the prescribed testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and keeping track of/reporting any observable symptoms or changes detected.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions precisely when as well as how they’re prescribed is key, knowing that meds and dosage levels will change as the disease advances. It’s equally important to be aware that a number of over-the-counter medications are not advised for people with kidney disease, as they possibly can trigger further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Check with your physician for guidance.
- Make appropriate changes in your lifestyle. Work with a dietician to develop a diet that will protect your kidneys, and with your doctor for a suitable exercise regimen to make sure you stay in good physical shape. And don’t forget your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease may create an unhealthy amount of stress, which might trigger depression if left untreated.
The professional care team at Absolute Companion Care can help individuals diagnosed with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a multitude of ways. Contact us at 410-357-9640 for more information on our Hereford home care services and the surrounding communities we serve.