Alarming New Stat for CKD

by Shane Power, President of Watertree Health 

An article just published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases stated that the mortality rate for people on dialysis is higher than some cancer patients. This is particularly troubling to me because 30 million adults in America have chronic kidney disease (CKD), and tens of millions of others are at an increased risk due to having diabetes and/or high blood pressure. I think one of the biggest issues is that so many people are in the dark about this silent killer.

For National Kidney Month, let’s help reverse the rising number of people affected by chronic kidney disease by spreading awareness. We’d also like to highlight our partner, the National Kidney Foundation® (NKF), for their life-saving efforts against CKD. The NKF is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.

How Can I “Heart My Kidneys”?

Know the Risks

Health factors such as high cholesterol, obesity, and a family history of kidney disease are all associated with CKD. Other factors are listed here, and I encourage you to learn what they areknowing the risks is a key to prevention.

Limit Use of OTC Medications

Kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins found in our blood. You may not know that using over-the-counter medications in large quantities may lead to kidney damage. You can help minimize the risk by limiting the use of medications like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. It’s always best to talk to your health care provider to determine which medications are best for you.  

Drink Enough Water

Our bodies need water to properly operateespecially our kidneys. The daily recommended amount is 8 glasses a day, but keep in mind, personal water requirement may differ based on your lifestyle.

How Can I Help?

Tell a Friend/Family Member

Currently, 1 in 3 people are at risk for CKD–the more your friends and families know about this disease, the more likely they will be to take action. You can help save lives just by sharing helpful information.

Together, we can help change this statistic for CKD, which is sadly the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. Learn more on the National Kidney Foundation’s website: https://www.kidney.org/.


How Nutritionists Help Americans Feel and Look Great

Smiling woman nutritionist holding an apple March 14th heralds Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day. On this day, we recognize RDNs for the ways they guide us to develop good eating habits, maintain good lifestyles and change harmful ones, and keep us apprised of nutritional news. Becoming an RDN takes years of schooling but unfortunately, their advice often goes unheeded as people make excuses to continue eating unhealthy foods and indulging in sedentary lifestyles. Nutritionists know what they’re talking about, and today we’re going to highlight some of their best tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet and exercise, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet or exercise restrictions. 

Choose Your Food Carefully
Most people think the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the healthier you are. Fruits and vegetables are crucial and new data indicates we may need 5-9 servings per day. However, as with any food group though, too much may deprive your body of other necessary nutrients. It’s better to eat foods from each group every day rather than consuming too many of one group. Be aware of the nutrients your body needs most and look for foods containing them. Dark green and yellow vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and skim milk may all be good choices.

Listen to Cravings
If you’re craving something, it’s probably your body’s way of telling you it needs what’s in that food. However, this is not an excuse to eat junk. You may think you’re craving ice cream, but you’re probably low on calcium. Choose a glass of milk or some crackers with low-fat cream cheese instead. Consider satisfying a craving for salt with pickles or lean jerky. Beat a sugar craving with a small square of dark chocolate, a teaspoon of peanut or almond butter, or a cup of decaf mint tea.

Stay Active
Many people see exercise as a chore or a punishment, and this needs to change if America wants to be healthy. Find the exercise routine or activity that’s best for you. If you don’t like team sports, go to the gym, get on a bike or treadmill, and compete with yourself for better times or more calories burned. If you’re social, consider joining a cardio or kickboxing class. Exercise can get repetitive, especially if you’re doing it solo, so entertain yourself with a customized playlist or books on tape. Use a spotter during weight training or if you’re new to a certain machine or routine.

Consult the Experts
If you have a reasonably healthy diet and exercise frequently but are still unhappy with your body, health, or energy levels, it may be time to consult an RDN. He or she can help you determine if you’re eating enough, what types of foods you should be eating, and the exercises that may work for you.

And remember, if you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, request a card be mailed to you, or text CARD to 95577. All brand name and generic medications are eligible for savings with our card–including those for heart-disease.

By WHBlogger 

Originally Posted: 3/11/2015 
Edited: 3/4/2019

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

Debunking the Myths Behind Chronic Kidney Disease

by Shane Power, President of Watertree Health 

We’re honored to now be partnered with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). They are the leading organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. The NKF assists hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk. The life-saving work performed by the NKF is so essential because 1 in 3 people in the U.S. may get CKD. That’s estimated to be over 30 million people in the United States. In recognition of National Kidney Month, we’d like to share some of the common myths we’ve learned about CKD from our friends at the National Kidney Foundation

As I get older, my blood pressure will stay the same.

Your blood pressure will gradually increase as you age. High blood pressure is the most common cause of kidney disease for the elderly and the second most common cause for others. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. If your blood pressure is higher than that, it’s recommended you speak with your physician to see what necessary steps you can take to get it under control. 

I have a sharp back pain, I think it’s my kidneys.

If you’re experiencing persistent back pain, that can be cause for concern. Back pain can be an indicator for possible spine or muscle damage. But there is a possibility that your kidneys are under distress. Pain in your lower back, under your ribs, or side can all be caused by kidney disease. It’s imperative you listen to your body and talk to your doctor.

With treatment, my blood pressure is normal. I can stop taking my blood pressure medication.

Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Maintaining normal blood pressure is critical for those who have kidney disease but also important for those without. Most blood pressure medications help protect your kidneys from further damage, so ending the use of medication would do more harm than good.

My kidneys are fine, I have no problem going to the bathroom.

Don’t be quick to make this assumption; even patients with kidney disease display no symptoms at first. The only way you can ensure your kidneys are in great shape is by getting a blood and urine test done by your physician.

We hope that after reading some of the popular myths behind CKD, you’ll be inspired to take a more active role in caring for your kidneys. Symptoms may not arise until it’s too late, but when caught early, CKD can be slowed or stopped. Prevention of kidney disease starts with 
knowing the facts. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today.

Updated: 3/4/19

Moving the Stone: How to Find Relief from Kidney Stones

Every day, doctors and other medical personnel see patients suffering from kidney stones. This ailment is extremely painful – it has been said that the only pain more intense comes with childbirth. People who suffer from chronic kidney stones may despair of ever finding relief. Today, we’ll discuss what kidney stones are and highlight tips that may help you find relief from kidney stones.

What are Kidney Stones and What Causes Them?An MRI image with a red spot highlighted over the kidney indicating kidney stones
Kidney stones are also known as renal calculus, which refers to hard masses of mineral deposits, usually calcium, that build up in the kidneys. They happen when your urine has too many crystal substances or deposits to dilute including uric acid, calcium, and oxalate. When the crystals cannot dilute, they form stones.

While calcium stones are common, you can also get uric acid stones from not drinking enough fluid or losing a large amount of fluid too quickly. Struvite stones usually occur as a result of infection such as a UTI, often with little warning. Cystine stones occur when the urine releases too much of particular amino acids and are usually the result of a hereditary disorder.

Kidney stones have no specific cause, but certain actions make them more likely or aggravate them. Risk factors include family history, obesity, and digestive diseases. Dehydrated people are more likely to have stones, as are people whose diets are high in salt, sugar, red meats, and saturated fats.

What Can I Do for Relief?
The best relief is passage of the kidney stone. Whether it can pass through the urinary tract on its own depends on several factors including the size of the stone, the size of the patient, whether the patient has a history of stones, and how hydrated the patient is. For example, a stone of four millimeters has an 80% chance of passing through the urinary tract. A five-millimeter stone has only a 20% chance. Overweight or obese persons may have a harder time passing a stone because their size puts more pressure on the urinary tract and other organs.

There are a few steps you can take at home to ease the pain and speed up the process of passing a stone. Most importantly, stay well-hydrated. Doctors recommend drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day. You can use a large water bottle with a straw to help increase intake. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and other NSAIDs will help alleviate pain and make stones easier to pass. 

Remember, if you’re taking any medications for kidney stones, and need help affording them, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription discount card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video 

By WHBlogger
 

3/19/2015 
Updated: 3/1/19

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

How Kidney Disease Affects Lower-Income Households

Research has shown connections between kidney diseases and income, citing lower-income families as higher-risk for these ailments. Today we’ll examine why this is the case, and what can be done about it.

The Kidney Connection
A study published in BMC Nephrology involved about 23,000 adults age 45 and older. These subjects were examined to see whether geographical and racial differences influenced their likelihood of end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.

The incidence of ERSD was about 178.8 per 100,000 persons per year in high-poverty counties, whereas higher income counties had an incidence of only 76.3 per 100,000 persons per year. The study found many kidney disease victims live in southeast U.S. The incidence of ESRD was also almost four times higher among people with incomes of less than $20,000 a year.

Who is Likely to Get Kidney Disease?31812789_l
Many factors influence statistics like those found in the BMC Nephrology study, and in some cases economic struggle and kidney disease form a vicious cycle. People with kidney disease can’t work efficiently, and thus cannot hold jobs. They return home and may make lifestyle choices that aggravate existing kidney problems or lead to their onset.

Causes include dehydration and poor diets high in sugar, salt, and fat, which are common in southeast U.S. due to an emphasis on dishes prepared with butter, grease, and oil. Dehydration, or drinking too many sugary fluids and not enough water, can cause chronic kidney stones that may lead to more serious diseases such as renal failure. Other causes include family history, obesity, and a reliance on processed foods. Low income can influence all these factors to some degree.

What Can Be Done?
potatoeIf you are a low-income family, you may be eligible for a food assistance program through your local Food Bank, which provides nutritious meals. Try to replace unhealthy foods with healthy choices. For example, replace corn and potatoes with leafy greens. Farmer’s markets are a good place to shop for inexpensive healthy foods. Drink plenty of water; most doctors recommend 6-8 glasses per day. Look for foods and drinks high in antioxidants such as: blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries.

Remember, if you’re taking any medications for kidney disease, and need help affording them, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription discount card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video 

By WHBlogger
 

3/23/2015 
Updated: 3/4/19

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.