Lifestyle Changes to Manage Chronic Kidney Disease

Certain lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. These changes can also prevent complications of the disease. Depending on the stage of your disease and other medical conditions you have, your doctor may ask you to:

Maintain Normal Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common cause of chronic kidney disease. See your doctor to find out if you have high blood pressure. If you do, take the blood pressure medications your doctor prescribes.

Lose Excess Weight

Being overweight or obese can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. If you’re overweight, speak with your doctor or a dietitian about how to lose weight.

Control Blood Glucose Levels If You Have Diabetes

High blood glucose levels make chronic kidney disease worse. Simple tests can tell if you have diabetes. If you do, take the diabetes medications your doctor prescribes.

Stop Smoking

Smoking makes chronic kidney disease worse. Ask your doctor for helpquitting.

Change Your Diet

Table salt and dietary protein make chronic kidney disease progress more quickly. Phosphorus, a mineral found in some foods, builds up in the blood when the kidneys are not functioning properly. Phosphorus can make your bones lose calcium and become weak. Chronic kidney disease can also increase the amount of lipids in your blood. High lipids can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

Your doctor may recommend cutting down on salt, protein, dairy products, peas, cola, nuts, and high-fat foods. A dietitian can help you select healthy foods for your condition. If you lose your appetite due to chronic kidney disease, a dietitian can help you choose tastier foods.

Protect Your Heart

A common complication of chronic kidney disease is coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks. The lifestyle changes already listed will help reduce your risk of a heart attack. Exercising regularly will also help protect your heart.

Revision Information

  • Are you at increased risk for chronic kidney disease? National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/pdf/11-10-1814.pdf. Published 2010. Accessed July 2, 2013.

  • Chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed July 2, 2013.

  • Chronic kidney disease: patient information handout. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/kidney/832.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed July 2, 2013.

  • Kidney disease basics. National Kidney Disease Education Program website. Available at: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov/patients/kidney%5Fdisease%5Finformation.htm. March 1, 2012. Accessed July 2, 2013.

  • National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) clinical practice guidelines for bone metabolism and disease in chronic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis. 2003; 42:S1-201.

  • National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification, and stratification. Am J Kidney Dis. 2002;39:S1-266.

  • National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) clinical practice guidelines on hypertension and antihypertensive agents in chronic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis. 2004; 43:S1-S29.

  • Snyder S, Pendergraph B. Detection and evaluation of chronic kidney disease. Am Fam Physicians. 2005;72:723-732.