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As you already know, your kidneys control many functions of your body.  To effectively fight this disease, you need to be as healthy as possible.  This will require some lifestyle/behavior changes that can be quite challenging.  These 3 areas are the cornerstone of staying healthy.  With kidney disease, they are now essential to your well being.

DIET

EXERCISE

EMOTIONAL
WELL BEING


For me, DIET is the hard one.  We socialize with food. Friends, family and co-workers sometimes make it difficult to stick with such a restricted diet.  I have often felt isolation when doing so.

If you are pre-ESRD, start reducing the intake of your saturated fats and animal proteins.  This is a first big step and will take will power and planning.  I find this most difficult when traveling.

Suggestions about diet are greatly appreciated.  See my Feedback Page.  I will publish them as I update my web site.

Here is one I recently saw in a newsgroup posting:  A low sodium/protein frozen veggie burger made by V'dora Foods Original Veggie burger. 


Some information about St. Johns Wart from Nutrition New Focus dated 2/18/00

Use oil in your diet?  Switch to grape seed oil.  It raises the HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol.  Unlike olive oil, it has a high smoke point so is great for sauté foods and does not become cloudy when kept in the refrigerator.  The Vong brand has the best price, especially if you buy more than one (check out the shipping costs).

Here are some quick tips for the pre-ESRD patient:
  • Drink distilled water.  Try to find water that is both distilled and run through carbon filtering.  There is a tasty one made in Florida called Zephrhills. 
  • Most healthy Americans ingest more protein than they really need on a daily basis.  Cutting down the amount of high-quality animal protein (beef, pork, chicken, fish, dairy products) is very beneficial to the kidneys.  You still need some of this type of protein, but not the excessive amounts that are generally eaten.  Reducing protein in general can possibly delay dialysis (see www.detnews.com/menu/stories/42193.htm).  
  • When giving blood for lab work, use your dominant arm.  Save the veins in your non-dominant arm for dialysis.

As your kidney function diminishes, you will probably experience high levels of cholesterol and will need to also fight the progression of cardiovascular disease.  

  • Reduce the intake of: 
      - Saturated fats.      
      - Trans-fatty acids (start reading food labels and
        avoid "hydrogenated" ingredients)
      - Sugar.  This will make your triglycerides elevated
         Look for other sweeteners in food labels.
  • Try to exercise every day.  This helps with lowering cholesterol and is great for stress reduction.  If every day is not possible, strive of 3 times a week.

At some point in your disease management, intake of the following substances will need to be regulated:  Protein, Fluids, Sodium, Cholesterol, Potassium, Phosphorus.  

Ask your physician about a good renal dietician.  Even if your insurance doesn't pay for it, the long-term benefit will be worth it.  

Here are some links related to dieting.

Blood Pressure - Controlling  your blood pressure is another major function of the kidneys and a BIGGIE in  kidney disease management.  Visit Blood pressure.com 

Don't neglect your emotional well-being.  This is probably the most important aspect of successful disease management; however is the least talked about.  If you (or your family) need to seek counseling, do not hesitate.   


VICTOR ASKS
"For your favorite low-protein recipes to share at this site.  He's looking for those that taste good!" 

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Authored by Barbara Inabnit ©
Last Updated - April 2000

This web site is a collection of my personal experience and opinions.  Any information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.