The importance of kidneys in maintaining overall health cannot be overemphasized, especially among those who have not experienced kidney-related conditions. Kidneys are responsible for various essential functions, including blood purification, regulation of chemical balance, control of blood pressure, stimulation of red blood cell production in bone marrow, and conversion of excess fluids and waste into urine.
It is worth noting that at least 50% of kidney patients seeking consultation with nephrologists are elderly. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is more prevalent among seniors, with approximately 40% of individuals aged 60 and above exhibiting impaired kidney function. Factors contributing to senior kidney problems include ageing, age-related ailments, lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol consumption, medications, and herbal preparations.
World Kidney Day allows us to appreciate the hard work our kidneys perform and prioritize their well-being. The day also provides an opportunity for Home Care, a leading provider of Ederly home care, to educate the public on the significance of kidney health among seniors.
CKD risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, high cholesterol, lupus, and a family history of CKD. Symptoms of kidney disease include nausea/vomiting, exhaustion, sleeping or eating difficulties, a decline in mental acuity, muscle cramps and twitching, swollen ankles and feet, consistent itching, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Here are some tips for managing chronic kidney disease that can be implemented by individuals and caregivers.
Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure Levels: To ensure healthy blood pressure levels, it is recommended to maintain a goal of less than 140/99 mm Hg. A doctor can help develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve this goal, which may involve reducing sodium intake and making other dietary modifications, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and getting adequate sleep.
Regular Medical Checkups: Continuous monitoring of kidney disease is essential as it progresses. Your doctor will conduct regular checkups to assess changes in kidney function and detect any damage. The objective is to maintain consistent GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and urine albumin levels. Individuals diagnosed with kidney disease can aid in this process by adhering to the recommended testing schedule, regularly monitoring their blood pressure levels at home, and reporting any observable symptoms or changes to their Home Healthcare provider.
Proper Medication Management: Adhering to the prescribed medication regimen is crucial, as the dosages and types of medication may change as the disease progresses. It is essential to note that several over-the-counter medications, including NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen, are not recommended for individuals with kidney disease, as they can lead to further kidney damage. It is advisable to consult with your doctor for information regarding safe medication options.
Maintaining a Kidney-Friendly Diet: For optimal kidney health, seniors should consume foods rich in antioxidants. However, they should limit their intake of foods high in sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and protein. Seniors recommended daily mineral intake includes 2000 mg of sodium and potassium each and 800-1000mg of calcium.
Here are some recommended foods for seniors: vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, red bell peppers, onions, and garlic; fruits such as apples, cherries, and red grapes, various berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries; animal products like egg whites and fish; whole grains like buckwheat, bulgur, and barley; and olive oil. To maintain good kidney health, seniors must limit or avoid the consumption of potassium-rich foods like vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, spinach, beet greens, and leafy greens; fruits such as bananas, apricots, oranges, or oranges juice.