When your kidneys are unable to remove wastes, stabilize electrolytes and produce red blood cells as efficiently as they should, you may start feeling tired all the time, notice your ankles and feet swelling, urinate more frequently and suffer nightly muscle cramps. Unless you have these symptoms investigated by a urologist, you may start experiencing nausea, vomiting, skin changes and have difficulty catching your breath, all classic signs of kidney disease that require immediate treatment. Because high blood pressure, diabetes, repeated urinary infections, tumors, enlarged prostates and kidney stones are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, you will need to gain control of these conditions before your kidneys can return to acceptable or near-normal functioning.
Managing Chronic Kidney Disease with Medications and Dietary Changes
If you are diagnosed with CKD, your doctor will prescribe medications that treats the reason you are suffering CKD. You may have to take medications to lower high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, treat low blood iron (anemia) and regulate your blood glucose if you are diabetic. Diuretics can help relieve severe fluid retention in your legs, ankles and feet by making kidneys put more sodium in your urine to help extract excess water from your body’s tissues.
Adopting a CKD diet is key to managing your chronic kidney disease and medical conditions that are negatively affecting your health. Foods included in a CKD diet equalize fluids, minerals and electrolytes in your body to improve kidney functioning, eliminate uncomfortable symptoms of CKD and improve your quality of life.
What Should You Eat If You Have Chronic Kidney Disease?
- Avoid foods that are high in sodium/salt. Stick to eating foods containing less than 95 mg of salt per serving and don’t salt foods when cooking or eating them. Use your favorite herbs to flavor bland foods instead of salt.
- Be aware that salt substitutes contain potassium, a mineral that people with CKD need to limit in their diet. Potassium levels tend to accumulate in the bloodstream when kidneys are not functioning properly and could lead to serious heart arrhythmias or hyperkalemia.
- Avoid eating processed meats like bologna, sausage, bacon and ham. They are incredibly high in sodium!
- Choose low potassium fruits such as apples, grapes, cherries and watermelon. Bananas and raisins are high in potassium so limit eating them to once a week..
- Include carrots, celery, onions, cabbage and lettuce in your CKD diet. Watch how many potatoes, avocados or tomatoes you eat–they’re all high potassium foods.
- CKD patients often suffer anemia and require iron supplements to increase red blood cell production. You should also eat foods containing extra iron–chicken, beef, kidney/lima beans and iron-fortified cereals if your doctor diagnoses you with anemia.
- Boost your energy levels by eating carbohydrates (grains and sugars). If you are a diabetic, make sure your carbs have a low glycemic index.
For more information about a CKD diet, your urologist will be glad to help you develop a diet plan that promotes kidney functioning while relieving symptoms of CKD