The National Kidney Center is dedicated to letting CKD patients know about the many lifestyle changes and treatment options that can lead to improved health.
Whether you are in the early or late stages of kidney disease, besides a kidney transplant or dialysis, your doctor may suggest you make dietary changes and take vitamins, supplements or prescribed medicines.
Depending upon your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend making changes to your diet, to either diminish your symptoms and to slow the progression of the disease. Common changes include low protein, low potassium, low phosphorus, low sodium, and higher calorie.
According to the American Association of Kidney Patients, if you eat too much sodium you can be thirsty, your blood pressure can rise. If you have too much potassium in your diet, it can cause irregular heartbeats. If there is too much phosphorus in your diet, you can develop calcification in your eyes, heart, skin and joints.
Before you restrict sodium, potassium, phosphorus, protein and/or calories in your diet, your doctor may recommend that you consult a renal dietitian, who has special training in diet for kidney disease. That’s because the renal diet for dialysis is not necessarily low calorie and is not low protein. The secret of the diet is the size of the portion. Therefore, it is important to match your particular CKD stage and symptoms with your diet, to be sure that you are receiving the exact nutrients your body needs.
Depending upon your diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe certain medications. For example, it is not unusual for doctors to recommend:
- High blood pressure medications. In the more advanced stages, some patients take three or more blood pressure medications to control hypertension.
- Vitamins. Working with your dietician, your doctor may suggest vitamins, such as vitamin D analog (such as calcitriol), renal vitamins (not merely a regular multivitamin, which can contain too much vitamin A for advanced renal insufficiency patients).
- Supplements. You may be asked to begin taking a calcium supplement with meals as a phosphorus binder.
- Medications. Your doctor may prescribe drugs to control heavy proteinuria or other symptoms you may be experiencing.
Regardless of the options you pursue, here are our Top 10 Tips for how you can live well with CKD.