Chronic Renal Failure, also known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is an increasingly common condition, potentially affecting one third of U.S. adults. But with the right therapies and support, Chronic Renal Failure can be managed and quality of life dramatically improved for patients.
What Is Chronic Renal Failure?
Your kidneys’ main role is to filter waste and excess fluids from the blood which leave the body as urine. In patients with Chronic Renal Failure, the kidneys’ ability to filter waste from the blood is damaged. Unlike Acute Renal Failure, Chronic Renal Failure occurs over a period of time. Although there is no treatment for kidneys that have failed, life can be extended with dialysis or a transplant. If caught in time, many patients can live a relatively normal life with Chronic Renal Failure. While Chronic Renal Failure can be a scary diagnosis, the good news is that the right therapy can keep renal failure in check and possibly improve function.
Who Is At Risk For Chronic Renal Failure?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in three adults is at risk for kidney disease.
The two main risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. The increased blood sugar levels associated with diabetes damage many organs, namely the kidneys, while high blood pressure damages the network of blood vessels that make up the kidneys. There is also a strong link between heart disease and kidney failure. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for patients with Chronic Renal Failure.
Smoking and obesity are also big risk factors for people concerning Chronic Renal Failure. Additionally, African Americans and some other minority groups, along with older Americans, are more susceptible to Chronic Renal Failure.
How Can I Prevent Chronic Renal Failure?
If you are at risk for Chronic Renal Failure, here are a few tips for preventing kidney disease:
- Quit smoking: this is one of the most important steps in overall health and in kidney health. If you are having trouble breaking the habit, talk to your doctor about getting help.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Adopt a healthy diet and reduce salt intake.
- Limit alcohol consumption to healthy levels (no more than one drink per day) or cut out alcohol, based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Treatments for Chronic Renal Failure
If your kidneys fail, your treatment options are dialysis or transplant. But the goal of patients and providers is to prevent kidney disease from progressing to that point.
The main treatment strategies involve addressing underlying conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes through medications, lifestyle changes (including smoking and alcohol consumption), diet and exercise.Your doctor may recommend working with a nutritionist to come up with a kidney-healthy diet. Doctors often recommend a lower protein intake to reduce waste products in the blood and encourage plant-based nutrition.
Chronic Renal Failure Recovery
Experts say that a high-quality long-term rehabilitation program can be key in managing and recovering from Chronic Renal Failure.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, exercise is important for patients with kidney disease and helps with heart function, blood pressure, diabetes, muscle strength, and anxiety and depression, all of which can come into play in patients with Chronic Renal Failure. Stretching, strengthening and cardio activity have all be shown to have a positive effect for patients. But in the case of patients with higher-stage renal failure, finding the strength and motivation to exercise can be tough. That’s why a supervised program can improve quality of life and prevent disability.
In the early stages of kidney disease, physical activity is especially important in addressing underlying issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. But even in later stages of renal failure, supervised physical therapy can help patients feel better and improve overall health. Chronic Renal Failure can limit function, and patients on dialysis are typically in poor physical shape. But in many cases, even those patients can benefit from professionally supervised, low-impact exercise training. Occupational therapy can also play an important role for patients with Chronic Renal Failure, helping them use assistive devices to maintain independence and regain function.
Chronic Renal Failure Management At Evergreen Health and Rehab
Kidney disease survivor Lori Hartwell, founder of Renal Support Network, suggests that physical therapy is key to improving quality of life for patients with kidney disease. It keeps people moving and can help prevent heart disease, a condition directly linked to renal failure.
A high-quality long-term rehab program can help patients with physical therapy, nutrition and also the social and psychological support that’s key to managing and recovering from Chronic Renal Failure.
In helping patients both physically and psychologically, rehab therapies can boost quality of life, and possibly even extend life expectancy for patients with kidney disease. If you or someone you know is suffering from, or showing symptoms of, Chronic Renal Failure, contact Evergreen Health and Rehab today. We’re here to help you get on the proper treatment plan as quickly as possible.