If you’ve been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), it’s natural to wonder about the lifestyle adjustments you can make to safeguard your kidney health. Although PKD is a condition that cannot yet be reversed, numerous methods are available to slow disease progression and manage symptoms effectively, forming the cornerstones of polycystic kidney disease self-care. Implement these six tips to help manage your PKD symptoms and lessen the strain on your kidneys.
Embrace a Kidney Disease Diet Specifically Tailored for PKD
Prioritize Regular Exercise
Those with hypertension and diabetes face a higher risk of developing kidney disease. Hypertension is also a major complication associated with PKD. Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels, and manage weight, which are all essential elements of reversing polycystic kidney disease. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity such as walking, cycling, or water aerobics each week. Incorporate muscle-strengthening activities like weightlifting or resistance band exercises at least twice a week.
Strive for a Healthy Weight
Obesity can increase the risk of kidney disease onset and may expedite the deterioration of kidney function in those already with the disease. Being overweight can lead to the development of diabetes and high blood pressure, both potent contributors to kidney damage. A combination of balanced nutrition and regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, an essential part of a diet for kidney cysts.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
Poor sleep has been linked to hypertension and heart disease, conditions for which PKD patients are already at an increased risk, making sleep a critical aspect of self-care. Generally, adults require 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Developing a routine that aids relaxation in the evenings and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule can enhance your sleep quality.
Keep Stress in Check
Being diagnosed or living with a chronic disease can trigger substantial stress. Excessive stress can elevate your heart rate, increase blood pressure, and raise blood sugar and fat levels. While stress is a natural response to perceived threats, prolonged stress and the symptoms accompanying it can accelerate kidney damage. Ensuring sufficient sleep and regular exercise can help manage your stress levels.
Say No to Smoking
Smoking can escalate your blood pressure, aggravating kidney damage. Quitting smoking can help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. Smoking also significantly increases the risk of developing an aneurysm, a grave complication associated with PKD.
Self-care forms a vital part of managing the progression and symptoms of PKD. Factors such as diet, exercise, weight management, sleep, and stress play pivotal roles in kidney health and should be addressed to preserve kidney function in those with PKD. Collaborate with your dietitian and doctor to devise a sustainable self-care plan tailored to your needs. To learn more about the dietary recommendations for PKD, click here.
By implementing these practices and choosing kidney-friendly foods, you can navigate your way towards a healthier future, even with PKD. As you journey through this process, remember that it’s about finding balance and not about perfection. Every small step you take towards self-care and dietary management contributes to a larger impact on your overall health and well-being.