The New Year is a great opportunity for everyone to start fresh. For chronic kidney disease patients, this is a time to do a health evaluation. It’s also the perfect time to prepare yourself – and your body – for a healthier year.
Read on to discover how you can set yourself up for a healthy New Year when you have CKD!
Schedule a Physical
Start your new year off right with a visit to the doctor. You want to make sure there are no new developments in your health. Request labs be done to ensure your levels are all looking good. This appointment is the perfect time to ask any questions or concerns you have about CKD or having a healthy year.
Get your Flu Shot
It is recommended that everyone get a flu shot to prevent catching the illness during the cold winter months. Patients with chronic kidney disease are even more susceptible to the flu, so they really need to get a flu shot at the start of the New Year – assuming they didn’t get it before Christmas.
Choose a Healthy New Year’s Resolution
The best way to make changes for your health in a new year is to set a resolution. This is a goal you will work on for the next 12 months; so don’t feel like you have to master it the first week of January.
Examples of good New Year’s resolutions for CKD include:
- Drinking more water
- Cooking more renal diet friendly meals at home
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising more often
- Limiting your sugar intake
Get your Blood Sugar Checked
Diabetes is a common condition that goes hand in hand with CKD. For this reason, it’s important to schedule an appointment in January to have your blood sugar levels checked. While there, you’ll also want the doctor to check your weight and blood pressure. All of these numbers need to be in check when you are suffering from CKD.
Monitor your Mental Health
It’s possible for CKD patients to suffer from anxiety or depression. There is a lot to learn, and the diagnosis itself can be overwhelming. This is especially true during the cold months, when the “winter blues” can even affect normal healthy people.
Talk to your doctor if you have been feeling down or overly anxious. Take a look at your stress levels, and find ways to manage it that do not involve comfort eating (this would make it difficult to stick to your renal diet).
Evaluate your Medications
At the start of a new year, it’s a good idea to get with your doctor and go over your current prescriptions. Discuss how well they are working for you. Get lab work done, and review the results with your doctor. It’s good to check up on the medicines you are using at least once a year, to remove any that aren’t necessary or substitute ineffective ones for ones that may work better.
Take a Hard Look at your Diet
Your doctor probably gave you a renal diet meal plan when you were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Maybe you have followed it to the letter, never straying or giving into a craving. However, many patients find that as time wears on, they may slip back into old eating habits.
Consider your current eating habits and make changes where needed. You should be eating three balanced meals per day, with one or two snacks mixed in. Make sure you are following your diet restrictions set forth for your situation.
If you don’t really know what you are eating, start keeping a food diary. Write down everything you eat or drink for one week. Logging everything you consume will make it easier to know if you are sticking with your diet plan or not.
If you haven’t been sticking to your renal diet, start now. Begin looking for healthier meal and snack ideas online. Recipes that are low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus are best for CKD. Increase your water intake while monitoring your overall fluid levels. Avoid letting coffee, tea, and juices take up too much of the fluids you are consuming each day.
Boost your Activity Levels
Exercise is an extremely beneficial task that you should be doing for at least 30 minutes each day. For CKD patients, staying active can be helpful to lower stress levels and blood pressure. It also helps to lower your risk of obesity and heart disease.
Start slow, especially if you aren’t used to being active. Walking is a great activity to begin with, increasing your speed and distance a little each week.
Check on your Support System
You don’t have to battle your CKD diagnosis alone. Think about the people in your life who have been supportive. Thank them for being there, and let them know how appreciative you are to have their help.
On the flip side, think about the people in your life who have not been so supportive. Those who bring over unhealthy foods, ask you out for drinks too often, or don’t see the importance of the lifestyle changes you are trying to make. It may be the time to rid your life of your negative influences, so that you can lead a healthier life managing your CKD.
As you can see, starting the New Year off on the right food is vital for a healthy year. Make sure you get all of your health under control and start fresh on any struggles you have been dealing with regarding your chronic kidney disease.
Be sure to download your checklist below.
Also published on Medium.