|Perhaps you learned you have chronic kidney disease at a routine
physical for work or at a checkup to monitor your diabetes or high
blood pressure or at a kidney function screening. However you learned
about it, the good news is that you found out you have it because the
earlier you learn you have kidney disease, the more you and your renal
team can do to maintain your kidney function to slow the progression or
prevent kidney failure.
The word “chronic” in chronic kidney
disease (CKD) means that CKD doesn’t go away and has been present for
at least six months. While your health care team will do all they can
to take care of you and help you feel your best, you will want to take
an active role in your care. There are things you can do such as:
* Do your homework and learn more about kidney disease.
* Always be honest with your care team about what you are doing and not doing.
* Follow your care plan as outlined by your doctor and care team.
* Get regular checkups, and keep your follow up appointments.
* Keep track of your medicines and take them faithfully as prescribed by your doctor.
* Stay positive to help keep your life happy and full of the things you love.
Learn about chronic kidney disease
all you can about CKD and treatments for kidney disease. Knowledge is
power. Look for books, articles, videos or audio tapes about kidney
disease. The internet can also be a great place to learn, just don’t
believe everything you read. Some trustworthy sites include DaVita,
Life Options Kidney School and the National Kidney Foundation.
addition to researching on your own, ask your doctor questions. As you
think of things that you want to know, jot them down and bring them
with you when you go to the doctor for a check-up to get answers. Keep
a kidney care notebook of everything you learn about CKD so you can go
back and refer to it if you forget. Help your family to learn more,
too. The more they know, the more they can support you. Being diagnosed
with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be scary at first, but learning
all you can about the disease and treatment options can help you feel
in control of your health and life.
In addition to learning
information about CKD, learn the why behind what you are asked to do.
Instead of blindly following your health care team’s recommendations,
ask questions to learn why you are asked to do certain things. Seek out
information by reading this website as well as other reputable
websites. If you understand chronic kidney disease and the details
about your health, you can work with your care team to decide on your
CKD treatment. You are the one who knows yourself best and has the
greatest stake in your good health.
A good way to learn more
about CKD is to attend a DaVita Kidney Education and YouŽ class.
These educational classes are taught by medical professionals for
people who have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and their friends and
Be honest with your kidney care team
care team can help you cope with kidney disease and feel your best if
you are honest with them. Tell them how you feel, what drugs you take
(prescription, over-the-counter, herbs and street drugs) and if you are
following your meal plan (if you have one). Write down questions you
may have before each clinic visit to ask your care team. Put the
answers in your notebook. Tell your team about any changes in your
symptoms. You may have more than one doctor, and your doctors may not
always be able to talk to each other. Tell each of them what you’ve
talked about with your other doctors. Making sure that your health care
team is fully informed makes it easier for them to care for you and
help you feel the best you can.
In addition to keeping your
current care team members informed, you may also want to consider
seeing a nephrologist or a renal dietitian. These kidney care
specialists can help you feel your best and live a full life with CKD.