They are only about the size of your fist, but they are crucial to your body’s performance. Kidneys work as filters to get rid of waste from the body, but they also regulate our blood pressure and help in the production of red blood cells. For people diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, effective management is very important to prevent further advancement to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Repeated kidney infections
- Diabetes (either type 1 or 2)
- Inflammation of the glomeruli, or kidney filtering units
- Obstruction of the urinary tract over an extended time period
- Family history
- Older age
- Irregular structure of the kidneys
- People of African-American, Asian-American, or Native American descent
Kidney disease 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
The good thing is, there are a number of steps that individuals, and their caregivers, can take to ensure proper management of chronic kidney disease.
- Manage blood pressure levels. An average healthy blood pressure goal is less than 140/99 mm Hg. A doctor can put together a strategy to be certain blood pressure levels stay inside the recommended range, which may include decreasing sodium and making other dietary changes, boosting physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and obtaining sufficient quantities of sleep.
- Keep up with checkups. Your doctor will want to monitor kidney disease on a continuous basis, keeping track of any variations to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease usually progresses over time. The goal is to ensure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels both remain consistent. Individuals diagnosed with kidney disease can help by adhering to the suggested testing schedule, monitoring blood pressure levels at home, and tracking/reporting any observable symptoms or changes noticed.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions exactly when as well as how they are prescribed is key, knowing that meds and dosage levels will change as the disease progresses. It is also important to be aware that a number of over-the-counter medications are not recommended for anyone with kidney disease, as they can cause further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Check with your doctor for information.
- Make appropriate changes in your lifestyle. Seek advice from a nutritionist to formulate a meal plan that will take care of your kidneys, together with your health care provider to recommend a suitable exercise routine to ensure you stay in good physical shape. And remember your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease may increase an unhealthy level of stress, which could lead to depression if left untreated.
The highly skilled team of Rockport caregivers at Anthem Home Care can help individuals with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a multitude of ways, including providing transportation to medical appointments, medication reminders, help with shopping and preparing healthy meals, and much more. Reach out to us at 361-643-2323 for additional details on our high-quality home care services in Rockport and the surrounding areas!