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What can you do that will make a difference?

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 and Support 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.

Whatever the cause of your kidney failure it can be made worse by poor lifestyle choices.
Sometimes poor lifestyle over years is itself the cause of kidney failure.

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.

The need for dialysis can be avoided if the cause of kidney failure is due to high blood pressure and/or diabetes and these causes are removed/better controlled. It will depend on how well this can be done and how much damage is already done.

Even if high blood pressure or diabetes is not the cause of your kidney failure, badly controlled they can make kidney failure worse and happen more quickly.

And to further preventable 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 options again.

But why can't you just take the pills which 'control' these things?
Of course they help and they might even be life saving, but they often do not protect you sufficiently from the later complications of blood vessel disease 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.

What are the lifestyle issues that contribute to these potentially fatal diseases that can:

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

·         Having excess dietary salt.

·         Smoking

·         Having an unhealthy diet.

·         Being overweight/obese (BMI > 30)

·         Lack of physical exercise

·         Excess alcohol consumption

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 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 progessive 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


Resources looking at other ways we can help ourselves:
Clinics Wellbeing Diabetics Medication Blood Pressure Diet Phosphate Potassium Salt Fluid Smoking Sex The Treatments


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