In the world of chronic health conditions, many people truly believe that they can simply take a few pills and feel better without making any other changes to their lifestyle. Unfortunately, that is simply untrue and you could be putting yourself at risk if you are treating your illness this way. In fact, diet and lifestyle choices can often make more of an impact on your condition than medication.
Chronic kidney disease is a good example of a chronic illness that can be affected by diet even more than medication. That doesn't mean that you should not take your medication as prescribed, but simply that you will notice a huge difference in your overall comfort and condition when you follow through with a kidney friendly diet.
The affect that diet has on kidney disease is due to the nature of kidney disease itself. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys lose function. The main function of the kidneys is to filter out excess fluid and waste. Much of the waste that your kidneys would need to filter is due to the food and drink you consume. So it makes perfect sense that if you want to help your kidneys, maintaining a healthy kidney friendly diet would make a big impact.
Dietary Factors To Consider
As kidney disease progresses, your doctor will recommend certain restrictions to your diet. This is because, for each stage of kidney disease, there is less that the kidneys can handle. Some things that need to be restricted are sometimes found in an average healthy diet, but have to be monitored or omitted for a kidney disease diet.
Sodium: Sodium will likely be strictly monitored or restricted from the beginning. This is because sodium has a huge effect on the kidneys. Excess sodium can cause a host of problems, such as fluid retention and swelling, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and more.
Potassium: While potassium is generally thought of as a healthy addition to most diets, it can become dangerous in excess. Too much potassium can cause weakness, numbness, tingling, and even lead to major and life threatening heart events.
Phosphorus: A lesser known issue, phosphorus levels can also become increased with diminished kidney function. High phosphorus levels can cause calcium to be leached from your bones, causing brittle bones. That calcium can then deposit into your blood vessels and other parts of your body.
Protein: Since your body needs protein to function, this product of end stage renal disease can be really tricky for a lot of people. Excess protein can cause weakness, nausea, vomiting, and more.
Fluid: At certain stages of chronic kidney disease, fluid restrictions are necessary. This is to prevent swelling, fluid in the lungs, high blood pressure, and other really uncomfortable and potentially dangerous side effects.
Making a Difference
You can make a huge difference in your overall health and well-being by making major dietary changes. With chronic kidney disease, you will notice a huge difference in your overall wellness just by making big dietary changes. In fact, you could potentially stop the damage of kidney disease and effectively avoid dialysis in the future if you are vigilant about your diet. Of course, you should always listen to your doctor's orders and inform them of any changes you plan to make with your diet or treatment plan. For more information on diet vs medication, click here.