A tenth of the global population has some form of kidney disease – a condition that is preventable if diagnosed early, treated correctly and managed carefully along with a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Kidney failure in South African adults is mainly due to inherited Hypertension or Type 2 Diabetes – 10 000 people die of kidney disease or kidney failure in the country every year.
Implementing proper treatment and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to ensuring that kidney disease does not compromise your quality of life.
How to minimise the risk of kidney diseases
There are a number of lifestyle choices that anyone can make to decrease the risk of developing kidney disease.
Firstly, know if diabetes or hypertension, the two most common causes of kidney disease, is a hereditary family condition. If so, it’s important to have regular check-ups from the age of twenty.
Ensuring that your lifestyle is as stress-free and positive as you can make it is also an important factor – exercise and a balanced diet are crucial to this.
In lieu of that, smoking and drinking are a definite no-go as they put unnecessary stress on the kidneys.
If you do have diabetes or related chronic conditions, then ensuring you’re getting the right nutrients in your diet is incredibly important in lowering your risk of kidney disease.
How to manage kidney disease
One of the big risks of kidney disease is that it can lead to kidney failure. Recent studies have shown, however, that appropriate treatment can stabilise or significantly slow down kidney deterioration.
It was previously thought that patients with kidney diseases should refrain from exercise – however, studies have shown that patients who decide to follow an exercise programme are stronger and have more energy. Always consult your health care professional before starting an exercise program.
As in most instances, the right kind of diet can have a massive impact on how kidney disease is managed.
In patients with moderate to severe renal failure, excessive protein, and certain fruits and vegetables (such as pumpkin, spinach, bananas, tinned vegetables and olives) should be avoided due to high levels of potassium.
All patients suffering from renal disease should consult a nephrologist and – a highly specified diet plays a pivotal role in prevention of further renal decline and quality of life.
Things to remember
One of the most important things to remember, and convey to the public, is that the symptoms of kidney disease or kidney failure are usually silent.
But if it is diagnosed and treated effectively, kidney deterioration can be slowed and even stopped.
Taking medication, as prescribed is very important. Up to half of patients do not take their medicine regularly. Additional costs due to complications become exorbitant, and then rack up when patients are admitted to hospital to deal with this fallout.
Combatting and managing renal disease is a team effort between patient and healthcare provider, but one that can dramatically influence the lives and success of those living with compromised kidneys.