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Healthier kidneys. Healthier living.

It’s time we gave our kidneys the care and attention they deserve. Start by understanding how they work and the symptoms of kidney disease.

Get to know your kidneys

While most people have two kidneys, some people are born with only one — or even three! Your kidneys help keep your body healthy in many ways. Located on either side of your spine just below your ribcage, these small but mighty organs are mainly known for filtering waste and excess fluid from your blood, but they’re also in charge of:

  • Producing vitamin D
  • Activating the production of red blood cells
  • Balancing levels of acid, salt and minerals
  • Releasing hormones that help control blood pressure 

 

Symptoms of kidney disease

If your kidneys become damaged, excess fluids and toxins can build up to dangerous levels and you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Mental fogginess
  • Metal/ammonia-like taste in mouth
  • Changes in how much you urinate 

What happens next?

Receiving a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) can be overwhelming and accompanied by fear and uncertainty, but we’re here to help you clearly see your next steps and be optimistic about the road ahead.

Managing kidney disease can be challenging, but here are 10 things you can do to take control of your health."

 

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or CKD, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure about the best ways to care for yourse

Managing chronic kidney disease can be challenging, but here are 10 things you can do to take control of your health.

One, control your blood pressure.

High blood pressure makes your kidneys work harder. Doing your part to maintain a normal blood pressure of around 120/80 can slow down the progression of CKD.

You can lower your blood pressure by cutting down on sodium, following a healthy diet, reaching a healthy weight and taking blood pressure medication.

Two, control your blood sugar—especially if you have diabetes.

Too much sugar in the blood can damage the kidneys. You can get better control of your blood sugar by eating a diabetes-friendly diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and if applicable, taking your insulin and other diabetes medications as prescribed.

Three, go to your doctor’s appointments and get your lab tests.

Your health care team wants you to be as healthy as possible. That’s why seeing your doctor regularly and getting lab tests are so important. Doctor’s appointments are an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have and talk about how you’re feeling. Consider writing your questions down and bringing them with you.

Lab tests allow your health care team to monitor your health and spot any potential problems early on.

Four, take your medications as prescribed.

Because your treatment plan is designed just for you, it’s really important to take your medications as prescribed. If a medication causes side effects, don’t stop taking it or change the dose on your own. Talk to your doctor and they’ll help you solve the problem.

Five, avoid “NSAIDs.”

NSAIDS are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

This includes medications like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. These drugs aren’t safe for people with CKD because they can harm the kidneys.

Six, exercise.

Just get moving. Physical activity is good for both the body and mind. It will boost your mood, help you sleep better and help you maintain a healthy weight. Walking and stretching are two simple ways to get some exercise.

Seven, eat a low-sodium, kidney-friendly diet.

You can slow down the progression of CKD by eating low-sodium foods and paying attention to other nutrients that can affect your kidneys, such as protein, potassium and phosphorus. Make a habit of reading food labels to find out how much of these nutrients are in a food. A renal dietitian can help you create a meal plan that’s both healthy and tasty.

Eight, reach or maintain a healthy weight.

Being within a healthy weight range can help lower your blood pressure which makes your kidneys’ job easier. If you have diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight can also help you manage that better.

Losing weight can be a challenge, but small steps can add up to make a big difference. In fact, you’re likely already doing the things that will help you get there by eating healthy and exercising.

Nine, get enough sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep can help boost your energy and improve your mood. If you have diabetes, getting the right amount of sleep can also help you manage your blood sugar levels.

And finally, ten. Quit smoking.

Nicotine is tough on every part of your body. It also raises your blood pressure which makes your kidneys work even harder. If you’re having a hard time stopping, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to be connected to your state’s free quit line.

There’s no time like now to improve your kidney health. If you’re trying to manage your

CKD and need help with any of these approaches, reach out to your health care team. We’ll help you get there together.

 
 
 

Move forward with confidence

Learn more about your kidney health so you can feel comfortable talking to your doctor about your condition.

 
 
 

All content is the property of CVS Health®. The information provided is not a substitute for the medical diagnosis, treatment and/or instructions provided by health care providers.