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How to Feel Your Best While Living with Chronic Kidney Disease

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with chronic kidney disease for years, quality of life is a big concern for many patients. While advanced or severe chronic kidney disease can leave you fatigued, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of feeling energetic and productive at all stages. Here’s what to know about living with chronic kidney disease and how our team at Kidney Clinic of North Florida can help.

Basic Lifestyle Adjustments

The choices you make every day will have a significant impact on how you feel. Everything from your energy level to your state of mind can hinge on your physical activity level and food choices. Your lifestyle can also support your kidneys to lower your risk of developing complications or worsening symptoms.

Two components of your lifestyle will have the biggest impact on how you feel day to day. If you can improve your choices in these two areas, you can take tremendous strides toward feeling your best with chronic kidney disease.

Nutrition and CKD

The most important dietary adjustment for anyone with kidney disease is reduced sodium intake. Sodium is an essential nutrient that your body can’t make on its own. It’s critical in controlling blood pressure and fluid levels while supporting your muscles and nerves. You want to consume enough to keep these vital functions going, but too much.

You may need significantly less sodium every day than the average person when living with CKD. The following tips will make it easier to reduce sodium in your diet without sacrificing flavor:

  • Eat most of your meals at home. It’s difficult to control your sodium intake when you’re not in control of the foods on your plate.
  • Use fresh herbs and spices in place of salt. There are many sodium-free options in the spice aisle. You may also enjoy growing herbs at home.
  • Learn to incorporate flavored vinegar and acids into your meals. You can even make homemade sauces and salad dressings that taste great and support your kidneys.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, and eliminate it if you have advanced kidney disease.

kidney-friendly diet will limit your food options. Try to focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t. In general, your diet may include the following foods:

  • Fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables
  • Lean protein (eggs, fish, and poultry)
  • Whole grains (oats, barley, brown rice, bread)

You can enjoy some foods if you make sure they’re unsalted. If your kidney disease is advanced, you may need to limit protein, whole grains, and carbohydrates. Make sure to discuss that with your nephrologist and adjust your diet accordingly.

Exercise and CKD

You enjoy the following benefits when you remain physically active:

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Higher energy levels
  • Stronger bones
  • Lower risk of depression
  • Lower risk of heart disease and stroke

You don’t have to run a marathon or lift heavy weights. Focus on increasing your overall daily activity level, which means moving more throughout the day. It can be things you enjoy, such as gardening or listening to a podcast while you walk. Challenge yourself to do a little more each day until you’re satisfied with the level of movement in your routine.

Other Ways to Feel Your Best with Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Take all medication as prescribed. Many medications are designed to reduce your risk of future complications, so they’re important even when you’re feeling healthy.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarettes can interfere with some medications and may worsen symptoms of CKD.
  • Work with your doctor to keep your blood pressure under control. Adjusting your diet and activity level will help.
  • Manage diabetes or focus on lifestyle changes if you’re pre-diabetic. Uncontrolled diabetes can negatively impact your kidneys.

Team Up With the Kidney Clinic of North Florida

If you’re in the Jacksonville, FL, area, Dr. Tandon can help you develop a healthy lifestyle that supports your kidneys and overall health. We’re dedicated to treating chronic kidney disease and improving the quality of life for our patients. If you want to feel your best while living with any type of kidney disease, schedule a consultation online.