Do you or someone you love suffer from kidney failure? The process can be a nightmare due to the limited treatment options available. Dialysis is very painful and can have fatal side effects from the constant handling of blood. Kidney transplants are not guaranteed and waiting for a match can take years. So what can a person in this situation do in order to be able to live a half-way decent life? This article will discuss what kidney disease is, how diet plays a major role in preserving kidney health, and safe scientific alternatives that are available now that were not offered to people in the past. Even if you are on dialysis, there are ways in which you can increase your natural kidney function to healthy levels and enjoy a better quality of life without changing your current treatment plan.
What is Kidney Disease?
First off, lets talk about the kidneys and their function. Everyone is born with two kidneys and they are located just above the waist on both sides of the spine. Their function is to cleanse the blood by removing waste and excess fluid from the body – very similar to what a washing machine does for clothes. When the body is in proper condition and the kidneys are healthy, they can eliminate toxins and wastes through the blood and urine. But if there is a problem with the elimination process and the toxins or excess fluid start to build up, the kidneys can become damaged and if left untreated they can stop working altogether. There are two types of kidney disease: acute and chronic. Acute kidney disease is usually temporary and can be due to a traumatic injury, low blood flow to the kidneys, pregnancy complications, infection or severe dehydration. Chronic kidney failure is more long-term. It can be caused by type 1 and 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Keep in mind that some people can have both diabetes and high blood pressure at the same time while in renal failure and for those individuals the road to recovery is quite grueling. With diabetes alone, the body requires drinking more fluids and more trips to the bathroom. But when kidney disease is present, you are limited to the amount of fluid you can have so for those with diabetes its a little harder due to swelling in the body which must be removed.
Dialysis – The Only Option?
When the kidneys are no longer able to remove enough fluid and waste products from the body, dialysis is required. Sometimes in the case of an acute situation this is only short-term and the kidneys resume their natural function. But in chronic cases, when you get to the fifth stage of this disease, dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary to prolong life. This is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). But now doctors, dietitians and scientists have begun to understand how important a role diet is playing to reverse kidney disease before and in some instances, even after it gets to this stage.
The Role of Our Diet Can Reverse Kidney Disease
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables have always played an important role in having a healthy lifestyle to promote long life. In the case of renal disease, it is no exception. However, if your diet is high in alkaline acids, it really won’t make much of a difference because your kidneys cannot eliminate this type of acid over a long period of time. There needs to be a proper balance of fresh water, fruits, vegetables, high fiber and according to a John Hopkins University study, very low protein intake.
But before you begin to make any changes to your diet talk with your doctor first. Not all kidney disease is reversible, as in the case of a total removal of the kidneys. But if your diagnosis is such where you can benefit from a healthy diet which will enable you to enjoy a lifestyle free from the chronic illness and pain of kidney failure, you owe it to yourself to do as much as you can before it gets too late.