At-Home Treatments for Chronic Kidney Disease
What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic kidney failure, is a term used to encompass damage to the kidneys that is caused by various conditions. It involves the gradual loss of kidney function that develops over months or years. As the kidneys lose the ability to filter the blood and remove waste and extra fluids from the body, a buildup of fluids, electrolytes, and wastes occurs.
At-home treatment options
Certain at-home treatments can help support kidney function. This includes dietary changes, physical activity, and lifestyle modifications. Controlling blood pressure and glucose levels, and researching over-the-counter medications and supplements, is also beneficial in slowing the progression of CKD.
Make dietary changes
The consumption of certain nutrients and minerals should be limited. This is especially true for salt, potassium and protein. Proteins create waste products that the kidneys must filter from the blood. Therefore, limiting protein intake reduces the amount of work the kidneys must do. Healthy amounts of water should also be consumed. Alcohol should be limited as it increases blood pressure. A registered dietitian can provide guidance and meal ideas for those with CKD.
Participate in physical activity
Physical activity is beneficial to overall physical and mental health. Additionally, it may prevent heart disease and reduce blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight helps with managing CKD progression. Speak with a health care professional prior to beginning a new physical activity regimen.
Smoking cigarettes impairs blood flow, which causes less oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to vital organs, bones, tissues and muscles. Furthermore, smoking can worsen kidney disease and contribute to high blood pressure. Quitting smoking should be a priority for those with CKD.
Control blood pressure
A healthy blood pressure can slow the progression of CKD. Steps to help control high blood pressure include achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, meditating, becoming physically active, limiting or eliminating alcohol, and quitting smoking. Blood pressure medications should be taken exactly as prescribed.
Monitor blood glucose levels
For individuals with diabetes, maintaining healthy glucose levels can also help slow the progression of CKD. Making dietary changes and taking medications or insulin as directed can help keep sugar levels normal.
Be cautious of medications due to the kidneys
Certain medications may prevent the kidneys from properly functioning and may even cause kidney damage. In addition, the active ingredients of certain medications are eliminated from the body through the kidneys; therefore, decreased kidney function can lead to overdose of the medication. Speak with a health care professional prior to taking any new medications or supplements.
Additional source: American Diabetes Association