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Dietary & Lifestyle Strategies to Prevent Kidney Disease

Kidney disease, kidney problem, backpain, chronic kidney disease, CKD, renal health, renal problem, renal diet, diet plan, creatinine level, what to eat for kidney problem, kidney failure,
Long-term back pain can be an indication of kidney disease.

When you eat and drink, your body absorbs nutrients required for energy. Anything unnecessary is transported to the kidneys via the bloodstream. The kidneys excrete excess nutrients and produce urine. If you have renal illness, certain nutrients can accumulate and cause harm to your kidney. Following a renal diet can help you avoid kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one of the most serious kidney conditions. CKD is characterized as a silent killer'. Early chronic kidney disease has no symptoms, and many persons with CKD are unaware of their condition until it is severe.

CKD therapies entail a high dose of medications, regular dialysis, or a transplant, which makes it extremely expensive to maintain. However, it can be prevented by controlling key risk factors like blood sugar, blood pressure, the right diet, and preventing excessive alcohol consumption. A blood and urine test can diagnose if there is any kidney problem. Since it's a silent disease today’s healthcare system suggests a periodical blood and urine test for every individual.

What is chronic kidney disease & its causes

Chronic renal disease is characterized by an increasing decrease of kidney function over months or years. Our kidneys keep us healthy by removing waste from the blood through millions of microscopic filters known as nephrons. If these nephrons are injured, they will start to shut down. Eventually, there isn't enough remaining to filter our blood adequately to keep us healthy, and we begin to experience CKD symptoms. However, by the time symptoms appear, CKD is usually advanced. In fact, a person can lose up to 90% of their kidney function without having any symptoms at all.


An untreated CKD may progress from Stage 1 to Stage 5 i.e. known as End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). In this stage a patient requires regular dialysis treatment, or a kidney transplant is to survive.

Symptoms and complications of CKD may include;


  • High blood pressure

  • Anaemia (low blood count)

  • Weak bones

  • Poor nutritional health

  • Nerve damage

  • Swollen ankles

  • Fatigue


Another consequence of CKD is an increased risk of untimely death due to cardiovascular illness like heart attacks and strokes. People with CKD are therefore more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease, regardless of whether they develop renal failure.

Hypertension and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease, with hypertension accounting for slightly more than a quarter of all occurrences of kidney failure and diabetes accounting for one-third. Other considerably less common causes of CKD include inflammation, infections, heredity, or long-term urinary system blockage, such as an enlarged prostate or kidney stones.


How to prevent chronic kidney disease?

As said, CKD is a silent killer, but it can usually be prevented. With proper care and lifestyle changes one can reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.


  • Stay active but don’t get over-exhausted

  • Eat a healthy diet that is less with sodium, potassium and phosphorus

  • Reduce your white salt intake

  • Quit smoke

  • Check and control your blood sugar and blood pressure as part of your regular checkups

  • Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors: diabetes, hypertension, obesity, a family history of CKD.


Diet plan for kidney disease?

Eating right for kidney disease is the key to stand strong against CKD. Whether you are a CKD patient or having risk of CKD immediately you need to change your diet to manage or avoid chronic kidney disease. Kidney disease patients should discuss specific diet plans with their healthcare provider or the registered dietitian. People with kidney disease need to control three important nutrients: sodium, potassium and phosphorus.

1. Choose less salt and sodium

To help control your blood pressure. Your diet should contain less sodium each day.  Below are the ways to have a control over daily sodium intake;


  • Buy fresh food instead of packaged foods.

  • Cook fresh, eat fresh. Avoid frozen and fast foods.

  • Use spices, herbs, and sodium-free seasonings instead of salt.

  • It’s ok to compromise a little with the exact taste of a dish, your health is prime.


2. Check the right quantity and the kind of protein

When your body uses protein, it produces waste. Your kidneys remove this waste. More protein intake than your body actually needs may make your kidneys work harder.

  • Eat small portions of protein foods.

  • Protein is found in foods from plants and animals. Choosing the right quality and quantity of protein is the key. Most people eat both types of protein. Discuss with your dietitian who is aware of your health history regarding the right combination of protein foods for you. 


3. Choose heart healthy foods

To help keep fat from building up in your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. Instead of deep frying, opt to grill, broil, bake, roast, or stir-fry foods.

Cook with light oils like olive oil and rice bran oil. If you are a non-vegetarian then remove skin from fish or poultry before eating. Try to limit saturated and trans fats.


4. Limit alcohol

Drink alcohol in moderation: no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two for men. Drinking too much alcohol can harm the liver, heart, and brain, resulting in serious health concerns.


5. Less phosphorus and potassium in diet


As kidney function declines, it may be necessary to consume meals low in phosphorus and potassium to protect bones and blood vessels. When you have CKD, phosphorus can accumulate in your bloodstream. Excess phosphorus in the blood can cause bones to shrink, weaken, and break easily. High phosphorus levels in the blood can also cause itchy skin, bone and joint pain.


  • Foods Lower in Phosphorus

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Breads, pasta, rice

  • Rice milk (not enriched)

  • Corn, rice cereals


Foods Higher in Phosphorus


  • Meat, poultry, fish

  • Bran cereals and oatmeal

  • Dairy foods

  • Beans, lentils, nuts

  • Dark-colored sodas/pop, fruit punch, soft drinks


Similarly, blood potassium levels must be maintained to support healthy neuron and muscle function. Too high or too low blood potassium levels might cause issues. Potassium can accumulate in the blood due to damaged kidneys, which can lead to major cardiac issues. Your potassium level can be lowered by the foods and beverages you choose.


Foods Lower in Potassium


  • Apples, peaches, grape, or cranberry juice

  • Carrots, green beans

  • Cooked rice and wheat cereals


Foods Higher in Potassium


  • Oranges, bananas

  • Potatoes, tomatoes

  • Brown and wild rice

  • Bran cereals

  • Dairy products

  • Whole-wheat bread and pasta

  • Beans and nuts


We all need to watch what we consume. If you have kidney disease, eating a renal diet provides you better control over your symptoms. Consult with your nephrologist  and dietitian since they are experts and can guide you the best. At the same time try maintaining a balanced mental health. At home you can try kidney detox DIY for keeping your kidneys fit.


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