They are only about the size of your fist, however, they’re imperative to your body’s functioning. Kidneys work as filters to eliminate waste from the body, yet they also control our blood pressure and help in the production of red blood cells. For those with chronic kidney disease, successful management is essential to avoid progression to kidney failure.
There are a number of factors that contribute 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 length of time
- Family history
- Increased age
- Abnormal structure of the kidneys
- People of African-American, Asian-American, or Native American descent
Kidney disease symptoms include:
- Sleeping or eating problems
- A reduction in mental acuity
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Swollen ankles and/or feet
- Ongoing itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
Chronic kidney disease treatment and management starts with a few easy steps that diagnosed individuals and their caregivers can take to help keep the disease in check.
- Keep up with checkups. The doctor will need to monitor kidney disease on a consistent basis, keeping track of any variations to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease has a tendency to advance over time. The objective is to make sure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels both remain steady. Those with kidney disease can help by sticking with the suggested testing schedule, monitoring blood pressure levels at home, and keeping track of/reporting any symptoms or changes noticed.
- Manage blood pressure levels. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is less than 140/99 mm Hg. Your physician can develop a plan to make certain that blood pressure levels stay inside of the suggested range, which could include decreasing sodium and making other dietary changes, increasing physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and getting sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions specifically when and how they’re prescribed is key, understanding 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 advised for anyone with kidney disease, as they can result in further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Talk with the doctor for advice.
- Make appropriate lifestyle changes. Work with a nutritionist to formulate a diet designed to take care of your kidneys, and with your physician to recommend an appropriate exercise regimen to ensure you stay in good physical shape. And remember your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease can cause an unhealthy level of stress, which can trigger depression if left untreated.
Compassionate Nursing Services, provider of the in-home caregiver St. Louis families can trust to help people who have kidney disease improve health outcomes in a wide variety of ways, including transportation to medical appointments, help with nutritious meal preparation and shopping, reminders to adhere to a medication schedule, and much more. Contact us at 314-432-4312 for more information on our compassionate care team and our high-quality home care services in St. Louis and the surrounding communities!