Chronic kidney disease affects one in 10 Americans age 20 or older, according to the CDC Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Managing the disease through diet and other lifestyle changes can help people delay or even prevent the most serious consequence of kidney disease: kidney failure. Yet because the disease is often without symptoms, you or a loved one may be at risk and not even know it.
People at risk for kidney disease include those with diabetes or high blood pressure, as well as older adults, Hispanics, African-Americans and American Indians, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other risk factors for kidney disease include cardiovascular disease, obesity, high cholesterol, lupus and a family history of the disease.
When kidney disease progresses to end-stage renal disease, or kidney failure, dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary to stay alive. Currently, more than 430,000 Americans are on dialysis, according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. If people with kidney disease manage their diet, they may delay or even prevent kidney failure, the report says.
One of the ways to manage this diet is through the new DaVita Diet Helper – an online diet tool that gives people access to more than 1,000 recipes for quick and easy meal plans, tracks nutrients specific to their diet, allows them to create their own recipes and more.
The tool can be used to customize meal plans for those with diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. It can also be used to support a kidney-friendly diet for loved ones not currently on dialysis.
“Proper nutrition is important for individuals with a chronic illness, particularly chronic kidney disease,” says DaVita dietitian Sara Colman. “The new DaVita Diet Helper helps individuals and their loved ones understand how to customize and create meal plans that support their individual health goals.”
For those living with kidney disease, Colman shares some lifestyle tips to promote good kidney health:
1. Take charge of your health – A kidney-friendly diet can help slow the progression of kidney disease. In addition to 1,000-plus kidney-friendly recipes, DaVita Diet Helper offers a way to track potassium, phosphorus and sodium levels. Learn more at DaVita.com/MyDietHelper.
2. Work, if possible – Working while on dialysis has both physical and emotional benefits, including lower rates of depression and higher likelihood of getting a transplant.
3. Stay informed – Make an effort to learn as much as possible about kidney disease to make educated decisions about your health, diet, insurance and lifestyle. Attend a no-cost Kidney Smart class in your area to learn directly from a kidney disease educator.
4. Stay positive – Take care of your health, find support and continue to engage with family and friends. Join myDaVita.com to share stories, gain insights and make connections.
5. Seek guidance – Ask your doctor about ways to slow the progression of kidney disease and figure out the best way to manage it.