They are only about the size of your fist, but they’re imperative to your body’s operation. Kidneys serve as filters to get rid of waste from the body, but they also regulate our blood pressure and help in the creation of red blood cells. For those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, effective management is very important in order to avoid further development to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- Recurring kidney infections
- Diabetes (either type 1 or 2)
- Swelling of the glomeruli, or kidney filtering units
- Obstruction of the urinary tract over an extended length of time
- Family history
- Older age
- Irregular 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 those with chronic kidney disease, and their caregivers, can take to help with disease management.
- Keep up with checkups. Your physician will need to monitor kidney disease on a regular basis, tracking any changes to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease tends to progress over time. The objective will be to ensure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels both stay consistent. Individuals with kidney disease can help by adhering to the suggested testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and tracking/reporting any observable symptoms or changes noted.
- Manage blood pressure levels. An average healthy blood pressure goal is lower than 140/99 mm Hg. The physician can put together a plan to make sure that blood pressure levels stay inside the recommended range, which may consist of reducing sodium and making other dietary changes, boosting physical exercise levels, stopping smoking, and obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions specifically when and how they’re prescribed is key, knowing that meds and dosage levels will fluctuate as the disease progresses. It is also important to be aware that some over-the-counter medications are not recommended for people with kidney disease, as they possibly can trigger further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Speak with your physician for advice.
- Make appropriate changes in lifestyle. Work together with a nutritionist to formulate a meal plan which will protect your kidneys, and with your health care provider to recommend an appropriate exercise regimen to make sure you stay physically fit. And don’t forget your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease can create an unhealthy level of stress, which could lead to depression if left untreated.
The highly skilled care team at Morning Glory Home Care can help individuals with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a multitude of ways, including providing escorted transportation to medical appointments, helping seniors adhere to a medication schedule, shopping for and preparing healthy meals, getting exercise, and more. Email or call us at 618-667-8400 to learn more about our top-rated home health care in Edwardsville, IL and the surrounding communities!