Healthy Behavior

CHAPTER 17

  

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Healthy Behavior

PART 1

Preventing or Stopping CKD

There is no cure for CKD, but it can be prevented. And although CKD is a progressive disease, it progresses very slowly, over a period of years or decades. If it’s caught early enough, CKD can be slowed down or even stopped in its tracks. But if it’s not caught, it can lead to kidney failure. So if you have risk factors for CKD, go to your doctor regularly to be tested for signs of the disease and have a healthy, active lifestyle. If you already have CKD, it’s even more important to take good care of yourself so it doesn’t progress into kidney failure.
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PART 2

Lose Weight

Being overweight puts you at risk for CKD because it increases your blood pressure. Being obese multiplies your risk, because obesity greatly increases your likelihood of developing diabetes. READ MORE

Taking off even modest amounts of weight can work wonders. Losing just 10 lbs can lower your blood pressure into the normal range. Losing 5-10% of body weight significantly reduces blood sugar levels. Plus, being at a normal weight lowers the strain on your heart and lets it pump more easily and efficiently. LESS
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PART 3

The Best Foods

Eating too many refined carbohydrates increases your glucose (blood sugar) levels, damaging both arteries and capillaries. Trans fats cause inflammation in the lining of your blood vessels and raise triglyceride levels. Your kidneys are especially at risk because their ability to cleanse your blood depends on the health of their filtering capillaries. READ MORE

For a kidney-healthy diet, eat lots of whole vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Use extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil. Stick to lean protein, from meat and fish or vegetable-derived. (Note: If you have CKD, you may need to limit your protein intake.) Avoid eating too many potatoes and white rice; sugary drinks and candy; products made from white flour (like bread and cake); fast food, especially when it’s fried; and products containing trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils). LESS
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PART 4

Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your kidneys. Tobacco smoke is full of heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, which accumulate more in your kidney tissue than in any other organ. Plus, smoke prevents your tissues from getting sufficient oxygen and instead poisons them with toxic carbon monoxide, while inflaming the lining of all your blood vessels and raising your blood pressure. READ MORE

If you’ve tried to quit and haven’t succeeded, don’t give up. Millions of people have succeeded in quitting only after many unsuccessful attempts. Keep trying—it’s worth it! Find a quit-smoking program or join a support group such as Nicotine Anonymous. You may find there’s strength in numbers. LESS
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PART 5

Being Active

Studies show that both aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise and anerobic exercise (resistance training) are very beneficial in preventing and treating CKD. They reduce the inflammation that damages your blood vessels and help to prevent atherosclerosis, raise insulin sensitivity, and increase muscle strength. They aid in keeping your weight and blood pressure down, too. READ MORE

If you haven’t been exercising, then start today—along with eating a healthy diet, it’s the best favor you can do for your kidneys. But start off slow if you’re out of shape. Begin with just 10 or 15 minutes a day, and add on more time over a period of weeks until you’re exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Combine aerobic with anerobic exercise for the best results. If you really don’t like exercising, find an activity—such as dancing, swimming, or hiking—that you really enjoy and do that instead. The main thing is just to get moving. LESS
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PART 6

De-Stressing

Stress has been found to raise blood pressure and lower glucose sensitivity. Because high blood pressure and diabetes are the two main risk factors for CKD, it pays to find ways to relax if you are under a great deal of stress. Exercise is helpful, especially forms of exercise like yoga and t’ai chi. Meditation and biofeedback can help, too. Make it a point to put aside some time each day for an activity you enjoy and find calming, like gardening or reading.
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