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Chronic Kidney Disease and My Lifestyle — Part 2 of 2


Information provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

In the 2016 January issue of Healthy Cells magazine, the first part of this series covered the basic questions in regards to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), such as ‘What causes CKD.’  Part two discusses ways to work with your lifestyle to better address and manage CDK.

People with CKD can and should continue to live their lives in a normal way: working, enjoying friends and family, and staying active. They also need to make some changes as explained here.

Do I need to change what I eat?

  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt (sodium). Overall, use less salt at the table.
  • Select the right kinds and smaller amounts of protein.
  • Choose foods that are healthy for your heart, like lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts Label, especially for sodium, to help pick the right foods and drinks.

    What you eat may help to slow down CKD and keep your body healthier. Your provider may refer you to a dietitian. Your dietitian will teach you how to choose foods that are easier on your kidneys. You will also learn about the nutrients that matter for CKD.

Do I need to change what I drink?

  • Water — You don’t need to drink more water unless you have kidney stones. Drink as much water as you normally do.
  • Soda and other drinks — If you are told to limit phosphorus, choose light-colored soda, like lemon-lime, and homemade iced tea and lemonade. Dark-colored sodas, fruit punch, and some bottled and canned iced teas can have a lot of phosphorus.
  • Juice — If you are told to limit potassium, drink apple, grape, or cranberry juice instead of orange juice.
  • Alcohol — You may be able to drink small amounts of alcohol. Drinking too much can damage the liver, heart, and brain and cause serious health problems.

Is smoking cigarettes bad for my kidneys?
Cigarette smoking can make kidney damage worse. Take steps to quit smoking as soon as you can.

CKD: Tracking My Test Results
You are the most important person on your health care team. Know your test results and track them over time to see how your kidneys are doing.

  • GFR — The GFR tells you how well your kidneys are filtering blood. You can’t raise your GFR. The goal is to keep your GFR from going down to prevent or delay kidney failure. See the dial picture below.
    – A GFR of 60 or higher is in the normal range.
    – A GFR below 60 may mean kidney disease.
    – A GFR of 15 or lower may mean kidney failure.
    – Urine albumin — Albumin is a protein in your blood that can pass into the urine when kidneys are damaged. You can’t undo kidney damage, but you may be able to lower the amount of albumin in your urine with treatment. Lowering your urine albumin is good for your kidneys.
  • Blood pressure — The most important thing you can do to slow down CKD is keep your blood pressure at the level set by your health care provider. This can delay or prevent kidney failure.
  • A1C — A1C test is a lab test that shows your average blood glucose level over the last 3 months. Lowering your A1C can help you to stay healthy (for people with diabetes only).

For more information, visit:  www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). For more information, visit www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov.

Photo credit: digitalskillet/iStock, Cathy Yeulet/iStock