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What can you do that will make a difference?

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For many Kidney disease can often be slowed down or even halted. This is done by the right exercise, the right diet and the right medication. How people manage these things can make all the difference.

If the kidneys do fail and treatment is needed, it is the right exercise diet & medication that is going enable people to do well.

These webpages and the renal staff can help you with this.

Living with a 'chronic disease' can be as much of an emotional, mental and social struggle as it can be a physical one. The good news is that there is a lot an individual can do to manage the disease better. Looking at

, Wellbeing &

will hopefully help a bit with the former, but this page focuses on the 'physical' things that can be done (diet & exercise) to help people give themselves the best chance of doing well on treatment.

Good Diet & Exercise
can slow down kidney failure, and for some can prevent the need for dialysis or transplantation. This is not true for everybody but for most people that get kidney failure from high blood pressure and diabetes (specifically type 2) it can be true.  Yet it is worth remembering that whatever the cause of kidney failure, it can still be made worse and happen more quickly by poor lifestyle choices. So if there is scope to improve lifestyle this is good news.

Good Diet & Exercise will also help people to do better on treatment if they do have a transplant or start dialysis one day. This is because these treatments put stress on the heart and blood vessels, so if the heart and blood vessels are in better shape then people are more likely to feel better and live longer on treatment.

- Healthy lifestyle?  – What does this mean for adults?

  • Attend to your mental health as well as your physical health

  • No smoking

  • Get to and keep a healthy weight

  • Know that your salt intake is less than 6g/day - (bought sandwiches can contain 2-4g of salt, 4 cups of milk contain over 1g, cereals and breads have salt - it adds up pretty quick.)

  • Regularly exercise (without injury!) any regular activity is better than none. Evidence shows 5 x 30 minutes a week promotes and maintains blood vessel health.

  • Stick to the normal alcohol recommendations (if you have any)

  • Have a Healthy diet – and know what one is!

  • Keep well hydrated - especially when unwell with something else

  • Know the medication you're on, take an up to date list with dosage to all doctor appointments, know why you're taking it and how long for.

An external site that explains all this is: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/

Kidney failure is a blood vessel disease. As is Heart failure. Lifestyle that helps the quality of the blood vessels helps the kidneys and the heart.

Diabetes is the biggest single cause of kidney failure and many with type 2 diabetes can reverse this fully or partly by lifestyle changes. (90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes).

High blood pressure is a major cause of kidney failure and lifestyle changes can reverse this fully or partly in many people.

And to prevent further problems for many, being overweight or vascularly unfit might mean some treatment options (e.g. transplant and peritoneal dialysis) are not suitable. If this is the case, the right diet, exercise and cessation of smoking can make some people suitable for these lifesaving treatments again.

But why can't we just take the pills which 'control' these things?
Of course the medication helps and it might even be lifesaving, but it often does not protect us sufficiently from the later complications of blood vessel disease, especially if poor lifestyle continues to degrade the blood vessels. Having high blood pressure controlled by medication is not the same thing as not having high blood pressure (which of course does not require high blood pressure tablets).

So for many there is a lot that can be done to make a difference. See below.

Poor Lifestyle behaviours can damage kidneys and:

by degrading our vascular system.

Public Health England has listed the things we do (below) that cause vascular degradation, high blood pressure / type 2 diabetes:

Diseases caused by poor lifestyle are called lifestyle diseases.

See here for:   healthy diet (including salt & weight)   what and how much exercise?
But do we really make the changes?

So we go to the doctor for the drugs that will help. The drugs do help – but when it comes to lifestyle diseases they don’t take away the cause of the problem and things continue to get worse, although more slowly. Eventually the kidneys can fail from the effects of high blood pressure and/or diabetes even though these have “been controlled” by medication for years.

Controlling type 2 diabetes and high BP with medication does not mean the long term progressive damage won't happen. But lifestyle changes that reduce/reverse these conditions can take away the source of the problem.

Can it?

Have a look at these two videos from
a Live address at the European Parliament, Brussels 2018

Professor Hanno Pijl - treatment of lifestyle diseases Dr Aseem Malhotra


7 Videos to watch Videos can be played full screen The same videos for the African Caribbean Communities
Introduction - Living with Kidney Disease
Introduction - Living with Kidney Disease

What do your kidneys do?

What do your kidneys do?

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Finding and Managing CKD
Finding and Managing CKD

Be Kind to your Kidneys - Diet & Lifestyle
Be Kind to your Kidneys - Diet & Lifestyle

Helping the Doctors to Help You
Helping the Doctors to Help You

The Outlook
The Outlook