How can I slow the progression of CKD?
What values are involved in the prevention of kidney disease?
The most important role of the nephrologist in prevention is to help you get your blood values under control. Especially blood pressure and your long-term blood sugar levels play an important role.
If your kidneys are already functioning somewhat poorly, the nephrologist and you will also need to manage blood levels such as potassium, phosphate, hemoglobin, and bicarbonate.
If dialysis is no longer avoidable for various reasons, you will help yourself, if you start planning early.
What is progression?
In nephrology, the term describes the progression of kidney disease. In order to delay this as much as possible, early and regular examinations by your nephrologist are particularly important.
How can I help my kidneys?
You too can slow down and delay the progression of the disease! Your healthy lifestyle is particularly important. This includes, for example, a good balanced diet, or regular physical exercise. Strict control of blood pressure and possibly blood sugar are also very important and can often delay or even prevent kidney replacement therapy for many years.
Quitting smoking and avoiding medications that damage the kidneys can also be very important factors in this regard. Did you know that certain painkillers or even X-ray contrast agents can damage kidney function? It's always best to ask your nephrologist if a medication or contrast agent is okay for you.
What exactly does the doctor do for CKD prevention?
For preventing further CKD progression, your nephrologist primarily takes care that your blood values are under control. For example, your long-term blood sugar level (HbA1c value) is important. Your blood pressure also plays a very important role in delaying kidney disease. Generally speaking, an adult person should keep their blood pressure below 140/85 mmHg. The nephrologist will also typically try to help you with a few other things, such as through targeted medications. However, much of the prevention is in your own hands.
What if dialysis is about to start?
If possible, take the opportunity to plan your dialysis start together, in order to have necessary interventions (vascular access for hemodialysis, catheters for peritoneal dialysis, vaccinations) performed early. Also, don't forget to ask for all information about kidney transplantation. Your nephrologist will do this on their own, but it is up to you to do the checkups.
By planning everything early, you can avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. You will also prevent an emergency dialysis start. In addition, you can decide in peace about your preferred form of dialysis.
At what point does dialysis make sense?
Dialysis should be seriously considered if you suffer from the following problems:
Pericarditis and pleurisy caused by poor blood counts
Abnormal brain changes caused by poor blood counts
Bleeding problems as a result of urine poisoning
Very severe overhydration (=too much water in the body) and urine-promoting drugs no longer show sufficient effect
Excessive deviations in pH, phosphate, calcium and/or potassium, which can no longer be influenced by medication
Regular nausea and vomiting caused by bad blood values
Malnutrition caused by bad blood values
Excessive itching caused by bad blood values
Restless-legs syndrome caused by bad blood values
Decreased perceptive abilities caused by poor blood levels
The final decision is always made with your nephrologist, unless there is an emergency reason why dialysis must be started immediately.
Prevention of renal failure is about long-term control of several very important values
It is very important for you to understand that you (not your doctor) are the most important person in slowing down the progression of your disease
If dialysis is unavoidable, don't put it off -- deal with it early so that once it begins, everything can start smoothly