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5 Tips for Caring for Someone with Kidney Disease

February 29, 2012
Diagram of kidneys in human body

Kidneys are very important organs in your body–they remove waste, balance your body’s minerals, regulate water and produce and control hormones. Kidney disease typically affects your body’s ability to remove waste and excess fluid, causing them to accumulate in the body.

Here are some tips on how you can help your loved one with kidney disease.

  1. Encourage a well-balanced diet. A healthy diet that’s low in sodium is crucial for someone with kidney disease. It’s also important to balance protein intake, potassium levels, limit foods that contain even moderate levels of phosphorous, manage their intake of fluids and take vitamin and mineral supplements.
  2. Regular exercise. 45-60 minutes of physical activity four to five times a week is the usual recommendation. This helps prevent high blood pressure, which is very common in people with kidney disease. This amount exercise may be difficult for older adults or people undergoing dialysis, so start slowly and gradually build up to at least 15 minutes of exercise each day. Some examples include: walking, gentle weights, specialty classes, simple stretches, etc.
  3. Manage blood pressure. High blood pressure affects 95 per cent of patients with kidney disease; it’s important to check your loved one’s blood pressure daily to make sure they’re balancing their fluids properly.
  4. Help manage their weight. This is important for overall health and blood pressure and can be achieved through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  5. Make sure they’re taking medications appropriately and as prescribed. Check with your loved one’s doctor before taking any other medications, including those bought over the counter.