They’re only around the size of your fist, yet they’re crucial to your body’s performance. Kidneys serve as filters to remove waste from the body, but they also regulate our blood pressure and help with the production of red blood cells. For individuals diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, effective management is vital to prevent further development to kidney failure.
There are a number of contributing factors to kidney disease, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Regular kidney infections
- Diabetes (either type 1 or 2)
- Inflammation of the glomeruli, or kidney filtering units
- Obstruction of the urinary tract over an extended period of time
- Family history
- Older age
- Abnormal structure of the kidneys
- Those of African-American, Asian-American, or Native American descent
Kidney disease symptoms include:
- Sleeping or eating difficulties
- A decline in mental acuity
- Muscle cramps and/or twitching
- Swollen ankles and/or feet
- Consistent itching
- Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
The good thing is, there are some steps that can be taken take in order to manage kidney disease in seniors.
- Keep up with checkups. Your doctor will want to monitor kidney disease on an ongoing basis, keeping track of any differences to functioning and assessing for any damage, since kidney disease usually advances over time. The objective is to ensure GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels both remain consistent. Individuals diagnosed with kidney disease can assist by sticking with the suggested testing schedule, checking blood pressure levels at home, and tracking/reporting any symptoms or changes noticed.
- Manage blood pressure levels. A typical healthy blood pressure goal is lower than 140/99 mm Hg. Your physician can develop a plan to be certain blood pressure levels stay within the suggested range, which can include reducing sodium and making other dietary changes, increasing physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and getting sufficient amounts of sleep.
- Manage medications properly. Taking prescriptions specifically when and how they are prescribed is key, understanding that meds and dosage levels will fluctuate as the disease advances. It’s also essential to be aware that a number of over-the-counter medications are not recommended for anyone with kidney disease, as they possibly can cause further kidney damage, including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Speak with your doctor for advice.
- Make recommended changes in lifestyle. Have a nutritionist formulate a diet that will take care of your kidneys, and ask your doctor to recommend an appropriate exercise program to make certain you stay in shape. And remember your mental health. A chronic condition like kidney disease can produce an unhealthy amount of stress, which might lead to depression if left untreated.
The experienced senior helpers at At-Home Care Company can help individuals with kidney disease improve health outcomes in a variety of ways, including providing transportation and accompaniment to medical visits, shopping and preparing nutritious meals, reminding older adults to adhere to medication schedules, and more. Reach out to us at (515) 292-2650 to learn more about our compassionate senior helpers in Des Moines and the surrounding communities!