How to reduce the chances of suffering renal failure

There is a worrying statistic in America: one in almost three Americans is on the verge of suffering any type of kidney disease due to diabetes, hereditary aspects, high blood pressure or kidney failure. Joe Cosgrove has previously pointed out several aspects on how to effectively reduce the chances of suffering any type of renal disease and how to cope with the dreary effects of both dialysis and other treatments for renal failure; however, here is a word of advice for those individuals who want to increase the chances of getting the most out of their kidneys while keeping them healthy.

First of all, and despite it being quite obvious, the vast majority of individuals are born with two kidneys. What people do not know, however, is that they can live just using one. On a daily basis, the kidneys can filter up to 200 liters of blood: in this process, they can also remove up to 2 liters of waste, water, and toxins. In fact, water and waste products often leave the body in the form of urine, thusly allowing the kidneys to regulate the body’s fluids and its levels. Kidneys are also responsible for producing and releasing hormones that are key in regulating blood pressure, producing more red blood cells and maintaining solid and healthy bones.

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Since the human body tends to wear off over time, the kidneys are not the exception. The kidneys stop working as they should slowly over the course of time, which is why most people often realize they suffer from any sort of kidney disease until it is too late. It is difficult to prevent it, since detecting it during early stages is no easy task. Thus, protecting the kidneys is something every individual should aim to irrespective of whether they have hereditary conditions or not:

Get Checked

Everyone is open to suffering from any type of kidney disease regardless of whether they keep a healthy lifestyle, or have hereditary conditions, or not. People who believe they are at risk for any type of kidney disease should not overlook the importance of getting their kidneys checked by their primary physician or a nephrologist. Since the kidneys do not show early symptoms of damage, most people tend to adopt a relaxed stance when it comes to taking the time to scheduling an appointment with their physicians. That is why prevention and checking often walk alongside each other.

Nonetheless, it is quite easy to check the kidneys. The first test is a urine test that aims to find the presence of albumin (a protein) in the fluid. Whenever an individual has got protein in their urine it is quite possible to assert that that individual is showing early symptoms of kidney failure. When there is just too much protein in the fluid, it means that the kidneys are failing and are starting to leak albumin or protein in this case. The second test aims to find creatinine in the blood flow. Creatine is one out of many different types of waste products that can be found in the body. It comes from muscle metabolism, and healthy kidneys remove it. This test is also used to determine an individual’s glomerular filtration rate, which is a statistic that is commonly used to reflect how well the kidneys filter waste products from the blood flow.

Control sugar levels

And control blood pressure as well. High blood pressure and diabetes are known for being two major causes of all sorts of kidney disease. Since the kidney is somewhat of a vascular organ—as it contains a myriad of different blood vessels—, diseases that affect these vessels such as diabetes and high blood pressure can ultimately inflict damage to the organs. In fact, even a minor degree of high blood pressure and diabetes can result in terrible kidney damage. As mentioned above, individuals, regardless of their current condition, should control both aspects in order to avoid falling victim of early kidney disease.

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Control weight

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is as important as the two aforementioned aspects. Weight plays a vital role in overall kidney health. Overweight, for instance, forces the body to work much harder in order for it to successfully filter all the waste products and meet metabolic needs. Besides, obesity and having excess weight can lead to the development of diabetes and pressure-related complications. Thus, it is quite important for individuals to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, working out from time to time and paying special attention to their weight. Weight loss and exercise is key when it comes to reducing the risk of developing both conditions. In fact, smoking also helps increase the chances of suffering any type of renal disease and high blood pressure, and it also worsens any condition. Quitting smoking, therefore, is crucial.

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Movement is Life: Advice On How To Make Dialysis Less Tiresome

Joe Cosgrove has previously covered the topic of dialysis from all possible angles. In fact, one of the most important aspects of the things that surround this condition is the need for physical activity, for it has been proven that a dialysis lifestyle with limited or non-existent physical activity can worsen the condition and increase the risk of falling into severe depression, high blood pressure, lower and weaker immune function, heart disease and swelling in both feet and lungs.

Many dialysis patients firmly believe they cannot do any physical activity because the conditions prevent them from carrying out what would be traditionally considered “normal” exercise; however, it has been proven by many institutions, physicians and studies that even a mild and minor workout for short periods ranging from 15 to 20 minutes—of course, tailored to every case—can result in a positive outcome for those patients. Not only can regular physical activity cause a much healthier blood flow, stronger muscles and improve overall immune function, but it also will help maintain healthy tissue which is linked to aiding digestion, absorption, and metabolism in general.

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Dialysis patients must determine with their primary physician the type of workout they should attempt, paying special attention to not overheating during the exercise, for it can lead to increased fluid consumption and overload. Although extreme workouts like weight lifting should totally be avoided due to the fistula, those with heart conditions can definitely find exercise beneficial. It is fine to workout to a point where the individual feels tired and even short of breath to some extent; however, they should pay special attention to not getting past the point of exhaustion. Symptoms such as chest pain and sudden shortness of breath, and even severe muscular pain and joint pain should be enough for individuals to stop every physical activity and seek advice with their primary physicians.

When it comes to the nature of the exercises, there are plenty of choices. There are many indoor workouts and exercises those individuals on dialysis can carry out; however, as mentioned above, the wisest thing to do is to consult with a nephrologist prior to recklessly rushing into it. A doctor can tailor a workout routine that will aid those with this condition. For instance, one of the most important yet disregarded physical activities is stretching. Stretching has proven to be effective at warming up the muscles and ligaments, thusly increasing the blood flow across the body. And, above all, the best part of stretching is that it can be done pretty much anywhere and does not require special equipment.

Stretching is obviously crucial prior to executing more demanding exercises, as well as after a workout. And although it might seem almost pretty much self-explanatory, it is nonetheless advisable to first consult with the nephrologist what kind of stretching activities are best for each stage of the condition. Bear in mind that the idea is to avoid any kind of damage to the vascular access.

Cardiovascular workouts are also of tremendous importance for those individuals on dialysis. Cardiovascular exercises, commonly referred to as simply cardio, is linked to providing important benefits to the heart. People who have a home gym or are looking forward to putting one together should go for either a treadmill or a stationary bike since both are perfect options for cardiovascular indoor exercises. And even though not everybody has got enough space at home to bring in large pieces of equipment, there will always be alternatives such as jogging in place just to get the heartbeat up.

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A very wise thing to do is to keep a journal day after day. It is known that being on dialysis is quite nagging, but things can be improved nonetheless. Logging one’s progress each day by timing how long did the workout last is a way to push oneself towards a new personal mark—which provides emotional support and enhances current mood—. It is important not to disregard the tremendous effect striving to accomplish a goal can have on people under similar conditions. Renal failure, in this case, supposes a daunting challenge: individuals struggle with the condition, and the odds of falling victim of depression are high. However, and as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, not only is exercise beneficial for the condition but also brings along a much greater effect: improves mentality and attitude. No matter how nagging the condition may be, ceasing not to do everything to improve at least something about the whole picture is vital: it makes people mentally stronger while they improve their bodies.

Dialysis is not the end of the road: is quite a speed bump, but it can be made livable by setting the right expectations and internalizing the fact that movement is life. Work out and start making changes today.

How to avoid starting dialysis sooner than expected

Although Joe Cosgrove has previously mentioned that starting dialysis is not the end of the world—in fact, he addressed the topic from different points of view including one major concern: how can individuals and patients under dialysis get the most out of life once they start the treatment?—. Many people fear that they will have to quit their jobs, or that they will have to dramatically change their lifestyles. The truth is, the onset of dialysis can be delayed to some extent. And although it is very tough to be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, if patients are diagnosed in the early stages of such condition, there certain steps and measures they can take to get the most out of their kidneys and prolong kidney function.

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Following a physician’s advice, it is possible to still enjoy a healthy life even with kidney disease. Following adequate and good health practices, staying on the job and continuing to enjoy other leisure activities and social events are ways an individual can overcome the apparent lack of control of their condition. Additionally, aside from following a physician’s advice in order to avoid starting dialysis sooner that expected, having a job with a solid health insurance helps provide security and other health benefits.

One thing is still certain: there are a plethora of causes that may cause chronic kidney disease; however, there is also a myriad of recommendations that, if followed properly, can help an individual delay kidney failure—which is what leads to dialysis and kidney transplant.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease in North America and other western countries are diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases have always been on the rise in the American country, which has also caused an increase in the number of patients who suffer from certain chronic kidney disease. The first step, of course, to control any type of CKD is by controlling the aforementioned conditions.

Diabetes and how to extend kidney function

People who suffer from diabetes need to mind their blood glucose levels. There is no shortcut. Blood glucose levels must be kept in an adequate range in accordance with physicians recommend. Additionally, hemoglobin A1C should be below 6.5%. And, of course, patients suffering from early stage chronic kidney disease need to have their kidneys tested at least once a year.

Research has shown that certain high blood pressure medicines are able to protect the kidneys of those who also suffer from diabetes, even they also have normal blood pressure levels.

The high blood pressure scenario

Individuals with high blood pressure—also known as hypertension—, should consult with their primary physician in order to get their blood pressure medicine. As recommended by the The National Heart and Blood Institute, it is recommended to have blood pressure under control (at 120/80 or even lower for those who have early stage kidney disease. For those who suffer from diabetes, blood pressure should be around 130/85.

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Other diseases commonly associated with chronic kidney disease

Aside from the previously mentioned diseases, there are several other conditions that can lead to suffering from chronic kidney disease: glomerulonephritis and lupus, for instance. These diseases affect the immune system, causing it to overact, which ends up affecting the kidneys (due to inflammation). In order to slow down the pace at which the kidneys deteriorate under these circumstances, a physician can prescribe certain medicines such as steroids.

Chronic kidney disease is also a direct consequence of certain infections and other medicines that happen to be detrimental to the organs. Infections, for instance, can be wiped out through the controlled used of antibiotics; certain medications, such as painkillers or antibiotics cause a negative impact on the kidneys: patients with these conditions need to be straightforward with their physicians about their CKD prior to initiating other treatments in hopes of avoiding a worse condition and prevent further damage.

Prolonging kidney function

Irrespective of how an individual develops chronic kidney disease, there are certain steps people can take in hopes of prolonging kidney function. Smoking, for example, is known for having a direct impact and correlation with the progression of kidney disease, therefore, and simply put, it is recommended that those with early stage kidney disease stop spending their money on cigarettes and tobacco. Of course, adopting a healthy diet, losing weight and working out are crucial activities that can act in the betterment of kidney condition. People with high blood pressure should also limit sodium in their diets: physicians believe that avoiding a certain amount of phosphorus and protein may also slow down the pace at which kidneys deteriorate; however, research continues on other foods—and even medicines—to see whether they act in the best interest of the health of the patient.

It is also important to remember that every CKD is unique. It is best to first address a physician and work out on a plan to prevent and slow down the disease while getting the most of life. It is perfectly possible.