You may not realize this, but having chronic kidney disease puts you at a greater risk for heart disease. Most CKD patients don’t reach end-stage renal failure, but die due to heart problems that can result from complications of the CKD.
Because of this, it is essential that you make lifestyle changes now to stay heart healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease. The following are some important changes to incorporate in your life to stay healthy!
Follow a Heart Healthy Diet
You likely have a renal diet to follow, and for the most part, sticking to those guidelines will help you to ensure you are eating a heart-healthy diet. Be sure to lower your intake of sodium, which contributes to high blood pressure and fluid retention when consumed excessively.
Also, limit the amount of sugar you consume. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes, a common cause as well as side effect of chronic kidney disease. Becoming diabetic puts you at a greater risk for heart disease. Sugar also elevates your blood pressure and can contribute to unhealthy weight gain.
Follow these diet restrictions by cooking homemade meals at home. Avoid eating out, and plan ahead for busy days by carrying snacks or making your dinner before you leave home.
Exercise is one of the best lifestyle changes you can make for a healthy heart. By moving every day, you help to lower your blood pressure, a common side effect of chronic kidney disease. Exercise also helps manage your weight and control your cholesterol and glucose levels – all of which are important to keep in check when you have CKD.
If you have a cigarette habit, now is the time to kick it for a healthy heart. Smokers are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers.
Smoking is dangerous for your heart because it causes plaque to build up in the arteries. This, in turn, forces your heart to work harder than it should to pump blood throughout the body. Those with CKD especially should not smoke, as smoking can also promote further kidney damage, as well as increase your blood pressure.
Reduce your Stress Levels
Stress can put an unhealthy strain on your heart. It also helps increase your blood pressure and can cause more glucose than necessary to be released into the bloodstream (which is harmful for those with diabetes AND chronic kidney disease). Furthermore, stress may lead to unhealthy eating and weight gain.
To control your stress levels, make sure you are exercising regularly. Being active release endorphins into the body, a “feel good” hormone that promotes happiness.
Monitor your Health
Follow through on doctor’s appointment and keep track of various levels in your body to ensure you living in a healthy lifestyle. At least twice a year, your doctor should do blood work that tests your glucose, lipids, and other factors.
This is the best way to know if anything is elevated so you can quickly make changes to reduce any risks for heart disease or related problems. You can also check your blood pressure at home daily, paying attention to any increase.
These five lifestyle changes are extremely important if you want to be heart healthy. As a chronic kidney disease patient, you must make sure you are living healthy to avoid further complications related to your medical condition!
Also published on Medium.