6 Things You Need To Do After Getting Diagnosed With Chronic Kidney Disease
Getting diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease is an overwhelming experience for anyone. Aside from the limitations it requires, you’ll also need to modify your lifestyle and submit yourself to a series of lab tests to avoid disease progression. There’s also the fear and anxiety that come with chronic diseases.
CKD, however, does not readily mean the end of life. In fact, with the right information and actions, it is still possible for anyone with CKD to live life to the fullest. As a guide, here are 6 of the first things you should do to cope with the condition.
1. Learn more about your kidneys
Your kidneys are small organs that play a huge role when it comes to your health. They filter out toxins and flush out excess fluid to avoid overloading your system.
To confirm kidney damage, your doctor may need to test your urine and blood. A urine test is necessary to detect traces of Albumin. A high amount of the protein in your urine is generally an indication that your kidneys aren’t able to function properly anymore. A blood test, on the other hand, is required to determine your estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate. This will help your doctor know how severe your condition is. If your GFR is at 30 or below, it’s best if you can consult a kidney specialist so that aggressive treatment can be started right away and disease progression can be avoided.
On top of these tests, imaging studies, like CT scans and ultrasounds, may also be ordered to detect possible causes and to rule out any complications. The same set of tests is usually required during follow-up visits to evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment plan. You can either go to your local health clinic to get them checked or you can order lab tests online.
2. Consult a dietitian
One of the adjustments you need to do to manage the symptoms associated with the disease involves your diet. Talking to a renal dietitian will help you get a clearer idea of the food items you can and can’t eat. Although it’s tempting to do the meal planning on your own, consulting a dietitian helps you get a more personalized diet plan. This will help ensure that your body gets the nutrition it needs, such as the right amount of sodium and protein, while recovering.
3. Have your blood pressure monitored
When you have CKD, it’s essential that you keep your blood pressure level within normal range. Persistent hypertension or high blood pressure can cause permanent damages to the minute vessels in your kidneys. If left unaddressed, it can lead to End Stage Renal Failure where surgery may be necessary.
Aside from monitoring, it’s very important that you adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan, too. You have to strictly comply with taking your anti-hypertensive medications at the right time, frequency and duration. It’s strongly discouraged that you stop your medications abruptly and without letting your doctor know.
4. Get your cholesterol levels routinely checked
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in patients with chronic kidney disease. Because of this relationship, it’s important for you to know and understand the possible factors that can predispose you to it.
Aside from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and LDL are also considered as risk factors to CVD. They can be detected through low-cost blood tests, like the Lipoprotein Particle Profile Test. A more advanced option is the VAP Cholesterol Testing which adds more measurements to identify your risk of CVD. Unlike routine cholesterol testing wherein you only get four measurements, VAP provides a more accurate measurement of your LDL, its pattern density as well as its subclasses.
VAP tests are typically carried out the same way as traditional cholesterol testing where a nurse draws out blood samples for assessment.
5. Control your blood sugar level
If it’s your diabetes that has caused our CKD, it’s critical to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Random Blood Sugar testing is one of the most common tests you can take to determine your glucose level. It’s a really cheap blood test that you can do even at home with just a lancet and a testing kit. If you are unsure about how you can test your blood sugar at home, you can ask your health care providers to walk you through the steps or just have them do it for you.
Aside from RBS, your doctor can also order a hemoglobin A1C test or HbA1C which can measure your average plasma glucose concentration within a 3-month period.
6. Know your treatment options
When your condition gets to its late stages, taking medications might not work for you anymore. For treatment, your doctor can ask you to choose between having a new set of kidneys and undergoing dialysis.
Getting a kidney transplant can sound like the better option, but it entails a long waiting time and a lot of work. Aside from the low supply of organs, finding the right match is also very difficult. Because of this, it can take several months or even years before you can find a positive donor.
As an alternative or while you are waiting for your match, you can choose to undergo hemodialysis at your local renal center or do a peritoneal dialysis at home. Both types of dialysis can help remove waste products and excess fluid from your body, but they differ in terms of flexibility and convenience.