One of the most serious health concerns chronic kidney disease patients need to know about is heart disease. It’s actually the most common cause of death in those with kidney disease.
Understanding heart disease and learning to live a healthy life are essential in order to lower your risk of developing this condition.
A great way to help control your risk of heart disease is by controlling your blood lipid levels. Heart problems can begin when you have unhealthy levels of these lipids in your body.
You do need some lipids in order for your organs to function properly. Too much can be a very dangerous thing, however – especially when you are already suffering from CKD.
What are Blood Lipids?
Lipids are fatty substances in the blood that your body needs to perform certain functions. There are three types of blood lipids:
- Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL) – Known as the “bad cholesterol” These lipids can create plaque buildup in the arteries. Keeping your LDL level under control helps prevent heart disease.
- High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL) – The “good” cholesterol that helps keep the LDL cholesterol from building up plaque in your arteries. Having more of this HDL cholesterol is healthy for your heart.
- Triglycerides – This is the fat in the blood that is used for energy. Only a small amount is needed for energy, however, and the rest is stored for later. This is the fat you may have around your abdomen or hips. It’s important that your keep your triglycerides levels in check and work toward helping your body burn off the excess so it doesn’t get too high.
The Danger of High Lipid Levels
When your blood lipid levels are too high, plaque can build up in your arteries. This makes it difficult for your blood to move throughout your body. As a result, your heart has to pump harder, causing your blood pressure to go up.
High blood pressure is a very grave concern for those with chronic kidney disease. If you have both hypertension and CKD, you are a greater risk for heart disease. So, along with controlling your blood pressure, you also want to control your blood lipid levels.
How to Keep your Blood Lipids at Healthy Levels
Follow a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats. By lowering your intake of cholesterol, your body will use up the extra it has, which in turn decreases your blood lipid levels.
Avoid eating animal products that are high in saturated fat, including beef, lamb, duck, veal, cheese, butter, and egg yolks. Also, stay away from fried foods, high-fat processed meats, and simple sugars found in candy, cookies, and soft drinks.
Instead, eat low cholesterol foods including whole-grain products, oats, bran, fatty fishes like salmon and albacore tuna, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and foods with omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts and avocado.
Exercise regularly. When you are active, your body has no choice but to burn its stored fat for energy. This helps to control your blood lipid levels. Follow a moderate exercise program at least 4 days per week in order to stay healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Exercising also helps to control your blood pressure, which is very important for those with chronic kidney disease.
Get a lipid profile done. Your doctor can monitor your blood lipid levels by doing blood work to create a lipid profile. This measures the cholesterol and triglycerides in your body. Keeping check of these levels is vital so you know you are on the right track to preventing heart disease and other serious medical issues.
Also published on Medium.