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GFNC on Kidney Disease

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Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, is the gradual loss of normal kidney function. The job of your kidney is to filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then passed out in your urine. When the kidney is not functioning as it should, dangerous levels of fluids, electrolytes and wastes can build-up in your body.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) can affect anyone, but statistic show that women are at greater risk. Some studies show an average 14% prevalence in women and 12% in men.

The two leading causes of kidney disease are Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Other risk factors include cardiovascular or heart disease, smoking, obesity, family history of kidney disease or abnormal kidney structure. Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as kidney stones and some cancers can also cause kidney damage.

There are different stages of kidney disease. From stage 1, where effects are barely felt to stage 5 or end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without dialysis or a kidney transplant. In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, there are few signs or symptoms; and in most cases symptoms are not seen until your kidney function is significantly impaired. Kidney damage can progress slowly over a few months or years and signs of the disease also develop slowly, over time.

Preventing kidney disease or managing an existing condition is linked to weight, diet and level of physical activity. A diet low in fat, salt and sugar can help control blood pressure and diabetes…the leading causes of Chronic Kidney Disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease can be deadly but there are steps to prevent it.

People who are overweight or obese should start by losing 10% of your weight. With healthy weight, people should keep active to maintain it.    

Reduce food portions, limit refined carbohydrates (sugary foods, white flour & white rice), unhealthy fats (meat fats, lard, vegetable shortening), Sodium and salt (processed foods – salami, bacon, cheeses)

and have more fresh fruits, vegetables and water.

Cigarette smoking can damage the kidneys and make existing kidney damage worse.

To manage an existing kidney condition, the general recommendation is to limit intake of sodium or salt, potassium, protein and fluids. The health care provider can make diet recommendations based on the results of blood test.

Kidney patients are advised to avoid nut butters, bacon and canned meats like salami, luncheon meats and corned beef. Those patients are often advised to lower their intake of potassium. Provisions like cassava, dasheen, yams or Tannia, are high in potassium; so, talk to a nutritionist about how much and how often you can have them and about leaching to reduce potassium content. Lower your intake of high potassium foods like avocado, Callaloo, spinach, banana, coconut water and passion fruit.

If you have kidney disease, depending on the stage, you may be told to limit your fluid intake. This is because damaged kidneys do not get rid of extra fluid as well as they should. Too much fluid in your body can cause high blood pressure, swelling and heart failure.

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