They are only around the size of your fist, but they’re imperative to your body’s functioning. Kidneys serve as filters to get rid of waste from the body, but they also regulate our blood pressure and assist in the creation of red blood cells. For people diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, successful management is vital to avoid further advancement to kidney failure.
There are a number of risk factors for chronic kidney disease, most notably:
- High blood pressure
- Ongoing kidney infections
- Diabetes (either type 1 or 2)
- Inflammation of the glomeruli, or kidney filtering units
- Obstruction of the urinary tract over a prolonged time frame
- Family history
- Increased 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 reduction in mental acuity
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Swollen ankles and/or feet
- Ongoing itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
Fortunately, there are a number of steps that those with chronic kidney disease, and their caregivers, can take to keep the disease in check.
- Manage blood pressure. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is lower than 140/99 mm Hg. Your physician can come up with a strategy to make sure blood pressure levels stay inside the recommended range, which may include decreasing sodium and making other dietary changes, boosting exercise levels, quitting smoking, and achieving sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Keep up with checkups. Your doctor will want to monitor kidney disease on a continuous basis, keeping track of any differences in functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease has a tendency to progress over time. The objective will be to make sure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels each remain consistent. Those with kidney disease can assist by adhering to the proposed testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and tracking/reporting any symptoms or changes noticed.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions specifically when as well as how they’re prescribed is key, knowing that meds and dosage levels will fluctuate as the disease advances. It’s also essential to be aware that some over-the-counter medications are not recommended for anyone with kidney disease, as they can possibly trigger further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Talk with your doctor for advice.
- Make recommended changes in your lifestyle. Work with a nutritionist to formulate a diet that will protect your kidneys, and with your doctor to recommend a suitable exercise program to make certain you stay in shape. And don’t forget your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease may increase an unhealthy level of stress, which might result in depression if left untreated.
The highly skilled care team at Home With You Senior Care can help those diagnosed with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a number of ways, including providing transportation with accompaniment to medical appointments, helping seniors adhere to a medication schedule, shopping for and preparing nutritious meals, and much more. Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 to learn more about our high-quality in home care in Ellicott City and the surrounding communities!