Kidney-Friendly Checklist: 7 Tips for a Healthy New Year


How to Keep Kidneys Healthy

When you’re living with dialysis or renal disease, you spend a lot of time monitoring the day-to-day. But how often do you take a step back and look at all the factors that have an impact on your health? Are you doing enough? Are there things you could improve?

The New Year is a great time to take a look at those things, find out what you’re doing well, and identify areas you can work on. Here are some things you can do to protect your health when you’re on dialysis:

1. Check your physical and mental health

How are you feeling? Are you getting enough exercise? When your kidneys aren’t working and you’re on dialysis, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Now is a great time to schedule annual check-ups and exams, get bloodwork, and recommit to daily exercise and healthy lifestyle habits.

2. Update flu and pneumonia vaccines

Did you get the flu shot in the fall? If not, it’s not too late. Flu season generally peaks in February, but still hangs around for several months. Once you get the vaccine, it takes about two weeks to be effective.

FYI...the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone with kidney disease get the flu vaccine. If you haven’t been vaccinated for pneumonia, now is also a good time for that, too.

3. Transplant patient? Schedule an annual check-up

If you’ve received a kidney transplant, regular check-ups are part of the gig. Check your calendar. Call your doctor, and get it on the schedule. Besides the standard blood work, you can help your doctor get a better sense of how you’re doing by sharing details about your weight, temperature, and blood pressure over the last few months.

4. Get blood sugar levels checked

If you have diabetes, it can wreak havoc on your health when your kidneys are no longer working. How’s your blood sugar level? What’s your A1C level been over the last couple of months?

The New Year is a great time to get tested, see where you’re at, and make changes to your diet, exercise habits and lifestyle if you need to.

5. Check your medications

Are you taking medications to manage kidney disease? A lot of medications don’t work forever. Maybe the dosage needs to be adjusted. Or you’re not getting the results you once were. Do you need a refill or new prescription? Now’s a great time to check with your doctor, evaluate your prescriptions, and make adjustments if necessary.

6. Check your mood

How are you feeling? It’s no secret that dealing with serious health issues can take a toll on your physical health. It can also take a toll on your mental health. But help is available in the form of medication, counseling, and stress management. Take an honest look at how you’re feeling, and reach out for help if you’re feeling depressed.

7. Check your diet

When you’re on dialysis, it’s important to limit sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. And that can make cooking feel like a chore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just pick your favorite Dialysis-Friendly meals made from fresh ingredients, and you’ll have your next meal ready to eat in minutes.