Improve Your Diet and Improve Your Issues With Kidney Disease

The kidneys are a small pair of organs within the body that have an important role. These bean shaped organs are responsible for filtering out toxins from the blood and maintaining the proper balance of water inside of your body.

Since they are responsible for keeping blood healthy and removing waste products, it can be very dangerous when the kidneys stop working properly. Currently, the ninth highest cause of death in the United States is kidney disease, and over 30 million people are dealing with this dangerous condition. The statistics about kidney disease might sound scary, but there is hope for people with kidney problems. The right types of treatment can greatly slow the progression of the disease and reduce the need for dialysis or transplants.

What Is Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease is a specific type of health condition related to the kidneys. Unlike other kidney conditions, chronic kidney disease does not result in the kidneys suddenly stopping. Instead, kidney disease is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function. At first, the symptoms of kidney disease may not even be very noticeable. People may just feel slightly fatigued or have changes in their urination patterns. Over time, more symptoms begin to present themselves as the kidney damage worsens. Those with kidney disease may encounter:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mental fogginess and confusion
  • Constant itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle cramping or twitching
  • Swelling in the ankles and feet
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Difficulty breathing

The damage from the kidney disease can progress to a point where the kidneys stop working. If it gets that bad, patients may need to use dialysis, a filtering machine that cleans blood artificially. Another method for treatment may be a transplant to replace the damaged kidney with a more functional one.

Causes of Kidney Disease

There are many types of reasons for the kidneys to slowly stop working. The leading causes of kidney disease is currently diabetes, because the high blood sugar damages the kidneys, and high blood pressure which puts stress on the kidneys. Another common issue is glomerulonephritis, a type of disease that causes damage and inflammation in the filtering units within the kidneys. Those with interstitial nephritis or polycystic kidney disease, which are two types of inflammation in the kidneys, may end up with kidney disease. Things like a severe infection, illegal drug abuse, overuse of certain painkillers, or an injury may damage the kidneys. If the urinary tract leading to the kidney is obstructed for too long due to a tumor or kidney stone, kidney disease may develop. Certain people get kidney disease after having vesicoureteral reflux, a type of health problem where urine backs up into the kidneys. In some cases, treating the underlying cause of kidney disease may help to reduce the severity of the condition.

Foods to Avoid

Those with kidney disease can help to reduce damage to their kidneys and minimize symptoms by avoiding certain foods. Of course your doctor will offer specific suggestions for your unique case, but a diet for kidney disease typically includes a few main traits. If you have diabetes, you will need to reduce sugar intake and increase fiber intake to help control blood sugar spikes that could damage the kidneys. People with kidney disease should always avoid salt because damaged kidneys struggle to filter out excess sodium. Keep in mind that things like pickles, lunch meat, canned soups, and canned vegetables can be surprisingly high in sodium. Two other minerals that need to be avoided are potassium and phosphorus because the damaged kidneys cannot handle these ingredients. To manage these levels, people typically need to avoid dark colas, whole grains, bananas, oranges, potatoes, apricots, dairy, tomatoes, and spinach. Diets high in protein can put added stress on the kidneys, so some people may need to limit their intake of meats, eggs, nuts, and fish.