It is common for people living with chronic health conditions to be living with multiple health issues. As an example, a person living with kidney disease is more likely to also have diabetes or high blood pressure. This is because so many chronic health conditions are connected.
The Chronic Illness Connection
To best explain the connection between common chronic health conditions, you should consider the body itself. All of the systems of the body, all of the organs, every cell is connected. From the veins pumping blood to your toes, to the nerves firing in your brain, your entire body is made up of many systems working together as one. So if one condition is affecting one system of your body, the other systems are affected also in one way or another.
In the example used above, a kidney disease patient has a higher likelihood of also having diabetes and/or high blood pressure. Kidney disease is a condition where the kidneys loose function over time. The kidneys have many functions in the body, one of which is helping to produce the hormones that create insulin.
The interrupted hormone production can lead to or contribute to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Kidney disease is also sometimes accompanied by edema, or swelling, due to fluid retention. This swelling occurs all throughout the body, including the arteries that pump blood through the body, which can cause high blood pressure. So as you can see, all of these conditions are linked.
How to Live Healthier
A healthier lifestyle can help to increase your overall wellbeing. Not only can you help to prevent some health conditions, but you can increase your comfort exponentially.
Along with following your doctor's orders and taking medications as prescribed, much of a healthy lifestyle comes down to diet and exercise.
Diet: Everything you eat affects your body. This is because each bite is broken down into their various byproducts and processed through each system of your body. The components of your food, from the vitamins and minerals to the fats and sugars, are processed and filtered through your blood. Your blood, of course, flows through your entire body from top to bottom. So each bite you eat affects every part of your body.
This is why it is important to maintain a healthy diet. A heavily plant based diet, one where the majority of your intake is fresh fruits and vegetables, along with lean proteins and whole grains, can help keep your body running smoothly. Avoiding excess fats and sugars will give your body less to remove, making it easier to absorb the good stuff.
Exercise: Exercise helps your body to burn off excess fat and calories. This helps your body in multiple ways. Cardiovascular exercise, even light cardiovascular exercise, gets your heart beating and your blood pumping. Exercise also helps to reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight contributes to almost every major chronic health condition, especially conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Just like the systems in your body, every chronic health condition can be linked to another. This is why it is even more important to live a healthier lifestyle if you are already living with one chronic health issue. For more information on renal disease, click here.
Also published on Medium.