I Have Chronic Kidney Disease: Where To Go From Here
When you’re diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), it’s only natural to have questions. One of the best steps you can take is to learn as much as you can about CKD, your kidneys and living with a chronic condition. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to participate in your treatment and make the choices that are right for you.
Remember, you are the person who can have the biggest impact on your health. Put yourself first, commit to your health goals and work with your doctor to plan CKD treatment around your life—not the other way around.
Coping with CKD
What CKD diagnosis can mean
Getting diagnosed with CKD means getting comfortable with the changes it brings—and this may be a process that takes time. Breaking down a big change into smaller steps can make understanding what your diagnosis means for your life more manageable.
Need a starting point? Make a list of questions to ask your doctor and then make a to-do list of actions to take. As you get more informed and mark things off your list, you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making.
Managing your emotions
A key component to thriving with CKD is getting encouragement along the way. Reach out to family and friends and tell them what you’re experiencing—they’ll be an important part of your support network! Talk about how you’re feeling and keep your support network updated on any changes in your treatment, diet or medications. The more you share and communicate, the more your family and friends will be able to help you through any rough patches—and celebrate when you’re feeling good.
"They take good care of me. It's just like my family."
—Ron, on dialysis since March 2015
Prioritizing your well-being
Eating well for kidney health
Eating a kidney-friendly diet will help your body stay its healthiest—without adding additional stress on your kidneys. In fact, what you eat now can have a direct impact on your current and future kidney health. Your doctor will refer you to a dietitian, who is an expert at kidney meal planning and will help you identify low-salt, low-protein foods to incorporate. Don’t worry about having a bland diet—there are many ways to keep meals interesting with recipes your whole family will enjoy.
Leading an active life
Making a plan
Understanding treatment options
Because CKD is a progressive disease, thinking about future treatments now will give you more time to plan for what’s right for you. There are many options for treating stage 5 chronic kidney disease , also known as ESRD. Talk to your nephrologist (kidney doctor) about treatment choices and consider which option best fits your lifestyle. You’ll be more likely to embrace your treatment if it’s in sync with what’s most important to you. If you don’t have a nephrologist yet, ask your primary care doctor for a referral.