You may need to change what you eat to manage your chronic kidney disease (CKD). Work with a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that includes foods that you enjoy eating while maintaining your kidney health.
The steps below will help you eat right as you manage your kidney disease. The first three steps (1-3) are important for all people with kidney disease. The last two steps (4-5) may become important as your kidney function goes down.
The first steps to eating right
Step 1: Choose and prepare foods with less salt and sodium
Why? To help control your blood pressure. Your diet should contain less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.
Buy fresh food often. Sodium (a part of salt) is added to many prepared or packaged foods you buy at the supermarket or at restaurants.
Cook foods from scratch instead of eating prepared foods, “fast” foods, frozen dinners, and canned foods that are higher in sodium. When you prepare your own food, you control what goes into it.
Use spices, herbs, and sodium-free seasonings in place of salt.
Good self-management will help you to live a long, fulfilling life and continue to do the things you love. It can also help to slow or even stop kidney disease from getting worse - and it may even stop or delay kidney failure. Good self-management starts with:
Controlling other health problems you may have
Treating complications of kidney disease
Managing or preventing heart disease
Control Other Health Problems
You may have other disorders, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which can damage your kidneys. One of the goals of your treatment is to make sure these are well-controlled. Ask your healthcare professional what you can do to keep these conditions under control - and do it! Some of the things your healthcare professional may ask you to do:
Take medications called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) as part of your therapy. Studies have shown that these medications help to protect your kidney function. You may also need other blood pressure medications to control your blood pressure.
Lose weight if you are overweight
Cut down on salt in your diet to control blood pressure
If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar, follow your diet and take your medications as prescribed
Do What You Can to Manage the Complications of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can cause other health problems throughout your body including:
Heart and blood vessel problems
Anemia (low red blood cell count)
Mineral and bone problems
High blood pressure
Poor nutritional health
Many Americans know nothing about kidney disease—until it's too late.
"Unlike many diseases, kidney disease often has no symptoms until it is very advanced," says Andrew Narva, M.D., Director of the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) a part of the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
"For this reason and others, it is important for people to not only become aware of their risk, but also to learn about the steps they can take to keep their kidneys healthier longer. An important step is to get tested."
That testing is even more important for populations that are at higher risk for kidney disease, such as African Americans, adds Dr. Narva.
How can you tell if you are at risk for kidney disease? Ask yourself these questions:
Do you have diabetes (problems with your blood sugar)?
Do you have high blood pressure?
Do you have heart disease?
Did your mother, father, sister, or brother have kidney disease? (Kidney disease runs in families.)
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are at risk for kidney disease. Now is the time to get tested.
Your health care provider will order two simple tests to check your kidneys—a blood test to check your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a urine test to check for protein.
GFR—A blood test measures how much blood your kidneys filter each minute, which is known as your GFR (glomerular filtration rate). This shows how well your kidneys are working. A GFR of 60 or higher is in the normal range. A GFR below 60 may mean you have kidney disease. You can't raise your GFR, but you can try to keep it from going lower.
Urine Protein—A urine test checks for protein in your urine, which can be a sign of kidney disease. Protein can leak into the urine when the filters in the kidneys are damaged. This test has several different names, including a check for "proteinuria," "albuminuria," or "microalbuminuria." It can also be called a "urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio."
A lymph node is a small, round or bean-shaped cluster of cells covered by a capsule of connective tissue. The cells are a combination of lymphocytes — which produce protein particles that capture invaders, such as viruses — and macrophages, which break down the captured material. Lymphocytes and macrophages filter your lymphatic fluid as it travels through your body and protect you by destroying invaders.
Lymph nodes are located in groups, and each group drains a specific area of your body. You may be more likely to notice swelling in certain areas, such as in the lymph nodes in your neck, under your chin, in your armpits and in your groin. The site of the swollen lymph nodes may help identify the underlying cause.
The most common cause of swollen lymph nodes is an infection, particularly a viral infection, such as the common cold. Other possible causes of swollen lymph nodes include:
Infected (abscessed) tooth
Skin or wound infections, such as cellulitis
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — the virus that causes AIDS
What is a kidney stone?
A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine (hematuria) and often severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Kidney stones are sometimes called renal calculi.
The condition of having kidney stones is termed nephrolithiasis. Having stones at any location in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and the term ureterolithiasis is used to refer to stones located in the ureters.
Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys.
Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage if they're recognized in a timely fashion. Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances — for example, if stones become lodged in the urinary tract, are associated with a urinary infection or cause complications — surgery may be needed.
Your doctor may recommend preventive treatment to reduce your risk of recurrent kidney stones if you're at increased risk of developing them again.
Kidney stones are the result of an accumulation of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys.
They are usually comprised of calcium oxalate but may be composed of several other compounds deposits.
Anyone may develop a kidney stone, but people with certain diseases and conditions (see below) or those who are taking certain medications are more susceptible to their development. Urinary tract stones are more common in men than in women. Most urinary stones develop in people 20 to 49 years of age, and those who are prone to multiple attacks of kidney stones usually develop their first stones during the second or third decade of life. People who have already had more than one kidney stone are prone to developing further stones.
In residents of industrialized countries, kidney stones are more common than stones in the bladder. The opposite is true for residents of developing areas of the world, where bladder stones are the most common. This difference is believed to be related to dietary factors. People who live in the southern or southwestern regions of the U.S. have a higher rate of kidney stone formation than those living in other areas. Over the last few decades, the percentage of people with kidney stones in the U.S. has been increasing, most likely related to the obesity epidemic.
A family history of kidney stones is also a risk factor for developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are more common in Asians and Caucasians than in Native Americans, Africans, or African Americans.
Uric acid kidney stones are more common in people with chronically elevated uric acid levels in their blood (hyperuricemia).
A small number of pregnant women develop kidney stones, and there is some evidence that pregnancy-related changes may increase the risk of stone formation. Factors that may contribute to stone formation during pregnancy include a slowing of the passage of urine due to increased progesterone levels and diminished fluid intake due to a decreasing bladder capacity from the enlarging uterus. Healthy pregnant women also have a mild increase in their urinary calcium excretion.
type of kidney stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. A majority of kidney stones are calcium stones. Other chemical compounds that can form stones in the urinary tract include uric acid, magnesium ammonium phosphate (which forms struvite stones; see below), and the amino acid cysteine.
Dehydration from reduced fluid intake or strenuous exercise without adequate fluid replacement increases the risk of kidney stones. Obstruction to the flow of urine can also lead to stone formation. In this regard, climate may be a risk factor for kidney stone development, since residents of hot and dry areas are more likely to become dehydrated and susceptible to stone formation.
Kidney stones can also result from infection in the urinary tract. These are known as struvite or infection stones. Metabolic abnormalities, including inherited disorders of metabolism, can alter the composition of the urine and increase an individual's risk of stone formation.
The occurrence of a kidney stone in a child is a relatively rare event. In countries where plants are the main source of protein in the diet, for example Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India, and Eastern Europe, the frequency of kidney stone disease in children rises. In developing countries, kidney stones made of uric acid are more commonly found.
Symptoms of kidney stones in children are similar to those in an adult, although with very young children or infants, the symptoms may be harder to appreciate and understand. The initial finding in an infant may be a crying and inconsolable baby, and the presentation may be mistaken for colic.
What Are Staghorn Calculi?
Some stones grow very large and fill the entirety of the kidney collecting system. They are called staghorn calculi (calculus = stone) because they look like antlers. While most kidney stones are made up of calcium oxalate crystals, this type of stone is a composite of struvite, carbonate, and apatite. They are usually the result of recurrent urinary tract infections, in which the bacteria produce ammonia, allowing chemicals in the urine to form the nidus for stone formation.
What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Kidney Stones?
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When a tubular structure is blocked in the body, waves of pain occur as the body tries to unblock the obstruction. These waves of pain are called colic. This is opposed to non-colicky type pain, like that associated with appendicitis or pancreatitis, in which movement causes increased pain and the patient tries to hold very still.
Treating kidney stones is primarily focused on symptom management; passing a stone can be very painful. If a person has a history of kidney stones, home treatment may be suitable. Individuals who have never passed a kidney stone should speak with a doctor.
If hospital treatment is needed, the patient may be rehydrated via an intravenous tube and administered anti-inflammatory medication.
Narcotics are often used in an effort to make the pain of passing the stone tolerable. Antiemetic medication can be used in patients suffering from nausea and vomiting.
In some cases, a urologist can perform a shock wave therapy called lithotripsy - a treatment that will break the kidney stone into smaller pieces and allow it to pass.
Patients with large stones located in regions that do not allow for lithotripsy may receive surgical procedures such as percutaneous nephrolithotomy (removal of the stone via an incision in the back) or ureteroscopic stone removal (removal of the stone via a thin tube into the urethra).
Most kidney stones eventually pass through the urinary tract on their own within 48 hours, with ample fluid intake. Ketorolac (Toradol), an injectable anti-inflammatory drug, and narcotics may be used for pain control when over-the-counter pain control medications are not effective. Toradol, aspirin, and NSAIDs must be avoided if lithotripsy is to be done because of the increased risk of bleeding. Intravenous pain medications can be given when nausea and vomiting are present.
You’re experiencing severe abdominal pain that’s radiating to your lower back. You also notice blood in your urine and a persistent need to urinate, even though you can only urinate small amounts at a time. You have a history of kidney stones and are pretty sure you are experiencing them again. Not wanting to use medications or surgery to treat your kidney stones, you start to look for successful home remedies that dissolve kidney stones naturally and fast. Four treatments look promising:
Jump to the One that Works
Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
Coke and Asparagus
Lab Grade Chanca Piedra
Which ones work and which ones don’t? We’ve done the testing and leg work to sort out the success rates of each of these treatments.
Why Do I Get Kidney Stones?
Our kidneys are essential organs that filter out the waste in our bloodstream. The byproduct of this waste is our urine. Stones develop from buildup of mineral deposits in our urine that stick together in the kidneys. Typically, these stones develop because of a lack of water that dilutes the accumulation of these minerals on the lining of our kidneys. Certain medications, medical disorders (e.g., Crohn’s Disease), and a family history of kidney stones can also increase your chances of suffering from them.
Because they are known to cause a great deal of pain, it is no surprise that those who suffer from kidney stones are will to try just about anything to prevent them and to stop them from coming back. Known medicinal treatments include the use of alpha-blockers such as Flomax that relax the lining of the ureter to help stones pass more easily, and medications that treat the associated pain. Additionally, surgical procedures and other non-intrusive means of surgical treatment may be prescribed to break up both calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones. These treatments include ureteroscopy and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).
Preventative measures used to halt the formation of kidney stones
What is gallbladder disease?
Gallbladder disease includes inflammation, infection, stones, or blockage of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a sac-like organ located under the liver. It stores and concentrates bile produced in the liver, which aids in the digestion and absorption of fat. Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. It is then released from the gallbladder into the upper small intestine in response to food (especially fats).
Types of gallbladder disease include:
Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
Biliary dyskinesia (in which the natural movements needed to empty the gallbladder do not work well)
Growths of tissue (polyps) in the gallbladder
Many of these causes have an individual page dedicated to them. Please follow the links for more information.
• Hashimoto's Thyroid Disease
• Low stomach acid
• Food Sensitivities or Allergies
• Gluten Intolerance
• Brain degeneration
• Rapid weight loss
• Lack of exercise
• Pregnancy (due to excess hormones)
• Estrogen intake and birth control pills(estrogen increases the concentration of cholesterol in the bile)
• Anabolic steriods, especially those that convert to estrogens and especially oral ones
• Chronic Heartburn
• Frequent use of Antacids and PPIs
• Atkin's Diet
• Over age 40 and increase in risk as one ages
• Female especially those who have had children
• Ethnicity (Pima Indians and Mexican-Americans)
• High triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, decreased HDL cholesterol,
• Alcohol intake
• Family history of gallbladder disease (Heredity)
• Cholesterol-lowering drugs, immunosuppressive drugs
• Antidepressants which slow down gallbladder contractions
• Insulin Resistance
• Diseases such as chronic inflammatory bowel disease, Chron's disease (ulcerative colitis is contraversial) Hemolytic anemias, PCOS
• Very Low Calorie Diets
• Diet high in saturated fats
• Diet high in refined foods and sugars
• Diet low in fiber (which is what the refined diets are) and not enough vegetables
• Non-fat diets
• Low-fat diets