Home Care Blog | July 14, 2016
Senior Homecare & Kidney Disease | According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kidney disease affects over 20 million Americans and many more are at risk for developing it. A great number of those with kidney disease are seniors. The main risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. The next risk factors in line are the frequent use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antibiotics. If kidney disease is not addressed and treated in time, the kidneys will fail. Once a kidney fails, the only options are dialysis or a kidney transplant.
If kidney disease is caught early, senior homecare provider can help your senior loved one avoid further complications by implementing a few lifestyle modifications.
The first step in managing kidney disease is the same as it is for many other ailments, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease – not surprising since these are all linked to kidney disease – and that is to stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke. Sadly, smoking cessation will not reverse kidney disease, but smoking will almost certainly make the damage to the kidneys worse.
The next step is to reduce sodium intake. An average adult with a moderate lifestyle does not need to consume more than 2,300mg of salt in a day. It is estimated that most Americans take in over 9,000mg. The problem is not just adding salt to food; people don’t realize how much sodium is already in their food and the number of different ways it presents itself. For example, sodium is in any food with an ingredient that has Na or Sodium as part of its name, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) or disodium phosphate. Sodium is even in baking soda and baking powder.
To lower dietary sodium, your senior loved one may benefit from the advice of a dietician. If they need help shopping for or preparing nutritious meals, senior homecare personnel can be of great service. After all, many seniors with kidney disease also have limited mobility and other maladies, such as arthritis, that make cooking and cleaning difficult. It is a lot easier to grab a microwave meal or make a sandwich with deli meats. While these options may fill the belly and even taste wonderful, they are loaded with sodium.
An excellent exercise program can also do wonders to curb the problems of kidney disease. In addition to weight loss and regulating blood sugar, exercise moves fluids and salts out of your body. It is, of course, very important to increase water intake while exercising in order to remain hydrated. One of the great enemies of the kidney is dehydration. Senior homecare providers are able to help your loved one select an exercise regimen that is both safe and effective, and can work to keep them motivated and consistent. They can also help to increase fluid consumption and maintain hydration.
In short, end-stage kidney disease is very serious. However, there are a number of things your senior loved one can do to prevent or moderate kidney disease long before it gets to that point.