Your Daily goal is simple: Lessen your kidney's workload through healthy food and drink choices. While there is NO CURE for kidney disease, it is possible for many people to slow down, stop, or even reverse some of the lost kidney function through diet and lifestyle changes. Please understand, while you may be able to improve kidney function and remove or greatly reduce the symptoms, the damage to your kidney will still be present.
Here is the 8 Step Strategy I followed to Beat Chronic Kidney Disease:
build a good health team - Doctor, Dietitian, and others
Find a doctor who is good at communicating and has up to date knowledge of research and treatments for fighting kidney disease. For me, this is my Primary Care Physician and my Dietitians. My first Nephrologist told me I had "ZERO" chance of improving from Stage 5. By having deeper and meaningful conversations with my supportive health care team, I was able to quickly go from Stage 5 to Stage 3.
Stop further damage: Treat THE Underlying cause, MANAGE your Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar
You must stop further damage to your kidneys. Work with your health team to manage the underlying cause and live a healthier lifestyle. This includes stop smoking and using tobacco and limiting or avoiding alcohol. All CKD patients, even those who are not diabetic, should manage their blood sugar levels along with their blood pressure. Nephrologist recommend CKD patients target a BP of 130/80 or better.
Monitor Your Labs regularly
Your blood work and urine analysis are your guides to what you need to add or remove from your diet. You do not want to be too high or low on any of your results - your target is the be within the standard range. Stage 4 and 5 will find it takes even more work to keep everything balanced and within the standard ranges. Your Dietitian will use your labs to tweak your diet so that you have the best opportunity to avoid losing additional kidney function.
Modify Your Diet as needed
Use your labs as a guide on what to eat. Keep a close eye on Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Protein (quantity and source), Calcium, and Sugar since they are some of the most stressful on your body and usually hidden in many of the foods you eat. Most Nephrologists recommend kidney patients avoid artificial ingredients, preservatives, and GMOs. Drink plenty of water unless you are on a restriction from your doctor.
Consider Supplements to help keep you healthy
Be aware of available supplements that can be used to help you meet your nutritional targets or reduce the burden placed on your kidneys. These can be very impactful in helping you improve your kidney function, managing your weight, and preventing dialysis. Always discuss supplements with your doctor since they could have negative impacts on some people or interact with some medications. Common supplements for Kidney patients include Probiotics, Vitamin D, Iron, and Fiber.
Most Doctors recommend Kidney Patients get at least 30 minutes of low impact activity five days a week. This can be as simple as walking, dancing or playing a sport. Get up and move to help your body. Being active helps with your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and mental health.
Manage Your Weight
In case you one day do need a transplant, most centers require a BMI of 30 or better (with some going as high as 35). Go ahead and start working towards a healthier weight for better health and to be prepared should you need a transplant in the future. If your BMI is over 35, lose weight to get it below 35 in a reasonable amount of time. Set targets to get down to 35, then 30, then 25. Obesity and Heart Disease are major risk factors for those with Chronic Kidney Disease and if you do need a transplant, most require a BMI under 35.
Find healthy ways to relax and avoid negative people. Stress puts a strain on your body, distracts you from your diet, and prevents your kidneys from getting better. In addition to the everyday stress, you want to remove stress from your Kidneys. You do this by following your health teams' recommendations, sticking to your prescribed diet, and having regular followups.