If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), you probably have many questions and concerns about what this means for your health. One of the best ways to keep on top of your kidney health is to have an open dialogue with your doctor. Staying educated about kidney care can help you make the right choices to keep your kidneys working their best. Here’s what newly diagnosed patients can expect after a CKD diagnosis.
There are 5 stages of kidney disease which can be determined by two different tests:
GFR - measures your kidney function through a blood test and will determine what stage kidney disease you have.
ACR - tests your urine to determine the amount of protein (albumin) that is in your urine. Too much albumin indicates an early sign of kidney damage.
Going forward, you and your doctor will keep a close eye on these numbers after each lab test. They will give your doctor a good idea of the impact of medications and lifestyle changes on slowing the progression of the disease.
High blood pressure can be damaging to your kidneys. So, keeping a close eye on your blood pressure numbers can assist your doctor in assessing changes needed to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.
Some medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, are filtered through the kidneys. This means that if your kidneys aren’t removing the medications from your body correctly, they can stay in your system, which can be harmful and possibly damage your kidneys further. That’s why it’s critical to tell your doctor about all prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications you are taking. Your doctor may make changes to your medications that are more kidney-friendly.
Your doctor may recommend that you speak to a renal dietician. A renal dietitian works specifically with patients that have kidney disease. It’s vital for CKD patients to pay careful attention to their diet — especially how much sodium they have each day. If you are unsure about what you should or shouldn’t eat, your doctor and dietitian can help guide you in the right direction.
Being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease can put you at an increased risk of heart disease. Kicking bad health habits such as not exercising, smoking tobacco, and eating high-sodium foods, can help you reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Getting exercise and staying active can also help you keep a healthy weight, so talk to your doctor about what exercises are best for you and your health situation.
If you’ve been diagnosed with CKD, it’s essential to keep up with your doctor visits and treatments. Visit our blog for more information about living with CKD and the treatment options that may be right for you.