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Self-Care Tips for PKD
If you’ve been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), you may wonder what changes you can make to preserve your kidney function. Although PKD is irreversible, there are plenty of ways to manage symptoms. Use these 5 self-care tips for PKD to control your symptoms and reduce the stress on your kidneys.
1. Adopt a PKD Diet
Work with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized eating plan for you. A PKD diet is low in sodium and refined carbs, moderate in protein, and high in fat. Your dietitian will help you learn about food high in oxalates that are best to avoid. You also want to be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and dehydration. Consider taking KetoCitra, for the dietary management of PKD.
2. Exercise Regularly
People with high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease (1). Hypertension is also a major complication of PKD. Exercise regularly to reduce blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and manage weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity like walking, bike riding, or water aerobics each week. Additionally, do muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights or using resistance bands 2 days per week (2).
3. Lose Weight
People that are obese may be at an increased risk of developing kidney disease. Not only that, obesity could quicken the decline of kidney function in people with kidney disease (3). Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, both known to contribute to kidney damage. Quality nutrition and exercise may help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Poor sleep is linked to hypertension and heart disease (4). People with PKD are already at an increased risk of developing heart disease, making sleep a crucial element of self-care. Adults generally need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Create a sleep routine to help you wind down in the evenings, and stick with a consistent sleep schedule.
5. Manage Stress
Being newly diagnosed or living with a chronic disease can be extremely stressful. Too much stress can increase your heart rate, raise blood pressure, and elevate fats and sugar in the blood (5). While stress is the body’s natural response to perceived danger, too much stress and the symptoms that occur with it can lead to further progression of kidney damage. Getting plenty of sleep and exercise may help you manage your stress levels.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes can raise your blood pressure, which worsens kidney damage. Quitting may help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart attack or stroke (6). Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing an aneurysm, a serious complication of PKD.
Self-care is an important part of managing PKD progression and symptoms. Diet, exercise, body weight, sleep, and stress all play a role in kidney health and should be modified to preserve kidney function in those with PKD. Work with your registered dietitian and doctor to create a sustainable self-care plan that works for you. To learn more about dietary recommendations for PKD, click here.
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