Protecting Your Kidney Function and Delaying Dialysis

Taking Charge of Your Kidney Health

A chronic kidney disease (CKD) diagnosis doesn’t have to mean immediate dialysis. By working with your doctor, you can take steps to protect your kidney function and potentially delay or even avoid dialysis altogether. Here’s how:

  1. Regular Doctor Visits: Schedule regular appointments with your nephrologist to monitor your condition and adjust treatment as needed.
  2. Healthy Diet: Focus on a plant-based diet rich in whole foods and low in processed options. Limit canned goods that might be high in sodium.
  3. Blood Pressure Control: Monitor your blood pressure at home and keep your doctor informed. This helps ensure optimal medication adjustments.
  4. Stay Active: Engage in physical activity as much as your body allows. Exercise can improve overall health and potentially lower blood pressure.
  5. Stress Management: Explore stress-reducing practices like yoga, meditation, or tai chi. These can benefit both your physical and mental well-being.
  6. Medication Options: Discuss newer medications like RAS blockers, SGLT2 inhibitors, mineralocorticoid antagonists, and GLP-1 agonists with your doctor. These might help slow down kidney disease progression.
  7. Dialysis Options: If dialysis seems likely in the future, talk to your doctor about home dialysis options for greater flexibility.
  8. Vascular Access Planning: If appropriate, discuss creating an AV fistula (an access point for dialysis) well in advance of needing dialysis.
  9. Kidney Transplant: Explore the possibility of a kidney transplant with your doctor if it’s an option for you.
  10. Bicarbonate Supplementation: Discuss the possibility of supplementing with bicarbonate to potentially protect and prolong your kidney function.
  11. Safe Medication Use: Avoid unnecessary medications that might be harmful to your kidneys. Explore safer alternatives with your doctor, such as avoiding over-the-counter NSAIDs and some proton pump inhibitors.

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list. By being aware and proactive about your care, you and your doctor can form a powerful team to protect your kidneys for as long as possible.