Infomation about Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease

The kidneys are two fist-sized organs in your body located on either side of your spine in the middle of your back.  They are responsible for filtering your blood, removing water and waste that become urine.  Kidneys also make an active form of vitamin D for bone health, as well as a chemical that promotes red blood cell production.  When your kidneys stop working or aren't functioning correctly, you have a Kidney Disease. Many Kidney Diseases can cause excess swelling in the body because the kidneys cannot filter blood and control blood pressure properly.  The kidneys are covered with transparent fibrous membranes, renal capsules, which help protect the kidneys from viruses or infections.  Too much waste in the blood can compromise kidney health and ultimately lead to Kidney Diseases like the ones below. 

Types of Kidney Diseases:

Acute Renal Failure: This occurs when the kidneys stop working

Chronic Kidney Disease: When the kidneys don't work efficiently for three months, most commonly due to Diabetes or High Blood Pressure.

Pyelonephritis: This is a kidney infection as well as a ureter infection.

Lupus nephritis: This is when the kidneys get inflamed because of the immune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). 

Polycystic Kidney Disease: An inherited disease that causes liquid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys, ultimately enlarging them.

Glomerulonephritis: This disease is signified by the internal inflammation of kidney structures. 

Signs Of Chronic Kidney Disease

Symptoms of Kidney Diseases will vary depending on the type of disease.  In the first stages of Kidney Diseases, one may not experience any symptoms at all.  People tend to only experience symptoms when kidney function declines.  Symptoms can be mild, but sometimes they can be more serious or taxing on the rest of the body.  These symptoms can include:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Sleep problems
  • Swelling around ankles
  • Chest pain
What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease

The inability to regulate water and electrolytes, filter waste products from the bloodstream, and promote red blood cell production indicates improper kidney function.  While there isn't a single reason for Kidney Diseases, the primary causes are Diabetes and High Blood Pressure.  Kidney Diseases are often categorized into prerenal causes or renal causes.  The former means that there is a decreased blood supply to the kidneys, while the latter indicates that there is damage to the kidney itself.  Causes for Kidney Diseases can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Medication (such as diuretics or lots of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naxproxen)
  • Sepsis
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Traumatic injury to the kidneys
  • Enlarged prostate that blocks healthy urine flow
  • Autoimmune diseases

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Having salt in your diet when you have a Kidney Disease only puts more strain on the kidneys.  Additionally, salt makes your body hold extra water, which increases blood pressure, a major cause of Kidney Disease.  In addition to avoiding salt, it’s best to steer clear of fast foods, processed foods, or canned foods.  Use salt-free seasonings, or Himalayan or sea salt in low amounts.  A salt alternative, which is more beneficial to the body, is Dulse.  Dulse provides sodium and potassium, which is an essential sodium-balancing mineral.  Both sodium and potassium work together to provide proper fluid balance inside and outside each cell.  Try to keep a heart-healthy diet, which avoids hydrogenated ingredients, high fat content, and incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables and raw nuts and seeds.
  • If you have a poor diet or eat lots of sodium, chances are that your body’s pH balance is heavily acidic.  It’s best to avoid alcohol, sugar, meat, processed foods, and grains because these are the top 5 acid forming foods.  To keep your kidneys healthy and lower blood pressure, it’s ideal to have a neutral pH balance.  You can do this by incorporating alkaline foods into your diet.  Eat dark leafy greens, organic apple cider vinegar, berries, peaches, or root veggies like beets and turnips.  You can also mix 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in 8oz of distilled water and drink this once a day to help establish a neutral pH balance. 
  • It is a good idea to have regular blood and urine tests to monitor the health of your kidneys.  These tests can help determine whether your kidneys are functioning better or worse over time.
  • Parsley is a natural kidney cleanser that is rich in vitamins A, B, & C, as well as potassium and copper.  The best way to reap these benefits is to consume parsley raw, for example, in smoothies, juices, or salads.  Since parsley is a natural diuretic, it can help naturally flush toxins out of the kidneys.  
  • It is a good idea to only use extra virgin olive oil when cooking or making salad dressings.  Don't use regular cooking oils or grapeseed oil, as these can cause cause inflammation in the body.  Extra virgin olive oil actually helps decrease inflammation and detoxify the body, which slows the progression of Kidney Disease. 
  • Herbal teas are often a popular natural remedy for people with Kidney Diseases.  It is best to go for teas that have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties and a lot of antioxidants.  Some great herbal teas to drink include green tea, blueberry tea, dandelion tea, marshmallow tea, and gravel root tea.  
  • A little exercise goes a long way to helping reduce High Blood Pressure and Diabetes, the leading causes of Kidney Diseases.  It’s important to exercise daily, as this can reduce stress and promote healthy circulation.  Start off by incorporating a daily walk into your routine.  Make a scheduled time every day to exercise and stick to it.  If you are limited by knee, hip, or back injuries, try swimming, yoga, rebounding, or using a recumbent bike.  Aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 3-4 times per week for best results. 
Things you should eat
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Leafy Greens (kale & chard)
  • Avocados
  • Black Beans
  • Lentils
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Red Grapes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Asparagus
  • Watermelon
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