Kidney-Friendly Foods to Love

Kidney-Friendly Foods to Love

Living with kidney disease can prove to be challenging when it comes to dietary restrictions. Depending on the level of kidney damage, dietary restrictions can vary from patient to patient. It’s important to follow a renal diet to decrease the accumulation of waste products in the blood, improve overall kidney function, and prevent further damage. The first step is always to consult with your doctor before changing or starting a new diet

Foods to Enjoy
Creating delicious meals that follow a renal diet is completely attainable. Here are a few of our favorite kidney-friendly ingredients:

    • Vegetables: garlic, onion, cabbage, bell peppers, radish, and turnips
    • Fruits: blueberries, pineapples, and cranberries
    • Grains: bulgur and buckwheat
    • Protein: sea bass, skinless chicken, and egg whites 
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Shiitake mushrooms

Following a renal diet does not mean restriction to a small selection of foods. This can be an amazing opportunity for patients to learn more about the purpose of the foods they are consuming.

Indulge in Something Sweet
Candies do not need to be completely thrown out of a kidney-friendly diet. These are a select few that can still be enjoyed:

Like all foods, sweets should be consumed in limited quantities and you should consult with a renal dietitian or your health team prior to integrating any new foods into your diet.

Foods to Avoid
Before exploring the variety of nutrient-rich food that can increase kidney function, let’s look at which foods should be avoided. 

    • Vegetables: avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet potatoes
    • Fruits: bananas, oranges, apricots
    • Greens: swiss chard, spinach, beet greens 
    • Grains: brown rice and whole wheat bread
    • Packaged, instant, premade, and canned foods
    • Pickles, olives, relishes
    • Pretzels, chips, crackers
    • Dark-colored soda
    • Dairy

What do all these foods have in common? They are high in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Those with kidney failure cannot adequately remove excess levels of these minerals. 

The KidneySPA team is here to guide you toward a healthy, kidney-safe diet that is nutritious and delicious -- and not just dialysis patients! We see non-dialysis patients for regular consultations to help them be their healthiest selves.

Dialysis and Depression

Dialysis and Depression

Undergoing dialysis can create a heavy toll on many patients’ mental health. They can often feel social isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. This month, we honor National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 7 by advising our patients to take an online depression screening.

How to Detect Early Signs of Depression
Early detection of depression is possible with the help of medical professionals. Signs of depression can include: 

    • Persistent feeling of sadness or anxiousness
    • Restlessness and irritability
    • Fatigue or loss of energy
    • Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless
    • Thoughts of suicide or death

Understanding the symptoms of depression is the first step. People exhibiting any symptoms should seek help from their doctor or health team.

Effects of Depression on Dialysis
Depression can have a tremendous impact on a patient’s quality of life, mentally and physically. According to the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, people undergoing dialysis who are diagnosed with depression are more likely to become hospitalized and tend to spend more days in the hospital. Some research shows depression might encourage changes in the immune system and trigger dietary issues. Due to this, it is crucial dialysis patients seek treatment if feeling symptoms of depression.

How to Cope Living with Dialysis
Managing mental health has its challenges. Many patients have opted to participate in peer support programs where they are able to share feelings with like-minded individuals. Peer support programs have shown to:

    • Help dialysis patients adjust to living with a chronic illness
    • Improve well-being
    • Decrease feeling of isolation
    • Promote better self-management

Peer support allows patients to share experiences that can be seen as common and normal to others. Patients are advised to speak to their medical professionals and ask about their peer support program options. 

At KidneySPA we are deeply invested in our patients’ physical and mental health. An online screening proves to be a helpful resource but is not an official diagnosis. We encourage patients to reach out to their doctors and health team.

Myths About Dialysis: Setting the Record Straight

Myths About Dialysis: Setting the Record Straight

Every day, millions of people undergo dialysis. This lifesaving treatment uses a specialized machine to filter toxins from the blood – work normally done by healthy kidneys. Although the need for dialysis is undisputed, common misconceptions persist about the burden of being on dialysis, and we’re here to set the record straight.

Myth: The only option for receiving dialysis treatment is to travel to a center at least three times per week for hours at a time.
Fact: There are so many dialysis options. If a patient is hospitalized, they can receive it during hospitalization. Peritoneal dialysis can be done in a unit or the comfort of your home. Patients should talk with their doctors about which type of dialysis they need and their treatment location options.

Myth: Dialysis is painful.
Fact: The dialysis treatment itself is painless. You may feel some discomfort when the needle is put into your fistula or graft, but most patients have no other pain during the process. Some patients may experience side effects, like a drop in blood pressure that can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches or cramps. However, the risk of these types of side effects can be reduced by following kidney-conscious dietary recommendations.

Myth: Dialysis is expensive or unaffordable for the normal patient.
Fact: Many of the costs associated with dialysis are covered by either the federal government, health insurance or state medical aid. The federal government pays 80 percent of all dialysis costs for most patients, which helps keep out-of-pocket costs low.

Myth: Due to time constraints, dialysis patients can't travel.
Fact: There are dialysis centers located in every part of the United States and in many foreign countries that can assist patients who wish to travel. The treatment is standardized, so it can be received anywhere. If you want to travel, talk to your dialysis team about safe travel tips and help with arranging out-of-town treatments.


Cómo cuidar sus riñones

Cómo cuidar sus riñones

Aunque usted no sea un paciente de diálisis, hay muchas cosas que puede hacer para prevenir una enfermedad renal crónica (ERC). Además de mantener bajo el azúcar en sangre y la presión arterial, tome en cuenta los siguientes consejos y siempre consulte con su doctor.

Reducir el consumo de carnes y lácteos
La carne y los productos lácteos contienen proteína animal, que según las investigaciones pueden tener un efecto negativo en la función renal y ser una carga adicional para los riñones agravando cualquier enfermedad renal existente. 

Mantenerse hidratado
Beba agua. Ingerir líquidos inadecuados, provoca deshidratación que es importante evitar en caso de padecer enfermedades renales.

Hacer ejercicio regularmente
El ejercicio mejora la salud en general, y en particular la salud renal. Además, puede prevenir la presión arterial alta, que también puede afectar la salud de los riñones.  

No consumir sal
Ingerir sal aumenta la cantidad de sodio en el torrente sanguíneo, resultando en retención de líquidos y un aumento de la presión arterial afectando directamente a los riñones y restringiendo su capacidad de eliminar el agua. 

Revisar sus medicamentos
Aunque a veces son esenciales, los medicamentos pueden afectar la función de los riñones. Debido a que los órganos filtran muchos medicamentos, este esfuerzo con el tiempo puede causar un deterioro de la función renal. Hable con su doctor sobre los posibles efectos secundarios de sus medicinas. 

Dejar de fumar
Los fumadores tienen un mayor riesgo de sufrir enfermedades cardíacas, accidentes cerebrovasculares y varios tipos de cáncer. Además, el hábito ralentiza el flujo sanguíneo a órganos importantes como los riñones. Los fumadores también tienen un mayor riesgo de enfermedades renales, especialmente cuando la persona también tiene diabetes. 

Exámenes periódicos
Las medidas preventivas pueden ayudar a detectar enfermedades renales. Las personas con afecciones preexistentes, como presión arterial alta, enfermedades cardíacas o diabetes, deben realizarse chequeos periódicos para su control y la detección de cualquier condición.

10 Tips for Successful At-Home Peritoneal Dialysis

10 Tips for Successful At-Home Peritoneal Dialysis

Adjusting to life on dialysis can be challenging and the process of at-home peritoneal dialysis can be difficult at first. At KidneySPA, we offer patients and caregivers training and monthly consultation services to help them get started and guide them toward successful treatments. In addition, we recommend taking these steps to feel better both physically and emotionally during the process.

  • Get training, help, and support. After consulting with your doctor, if you choose at-home peritoneal dialysis you’ll need to be trained to do it on your own. If you’re partnering with a caregiver to help you with treatment, train together and make sure they remain with you during the procedures and can handle the commitment. Talk to your care team about how you can make your at-home sessions better and express your concerns to a healthcare provider, other patients, support group, your family, or a counselor.

  • Learn and become your own advocate. Learn all aspects of performing at-home dialysis treatments with your medical team and it will eventually become a regular routine you’ll find relatively easy to do. Learning as much as you can about kidney failure, medications, and your body is also key. The more you know, the calmer you will be. Take your blood pressure and weigh yourself so you can be proactive and practice preventive medicine. Work on nutritional health issues with your dietitian and get your family and friends involved.

  • Get into a routine. Having a routine schedule is always very helpful. Make sure you stay on the machine for the entire treatment. Missing just a few minutes can make dialysis less effective and seriously impact your health.

  • Find the right space in your home. At-home peritoneal dialysis requires a dry storage space for your equipment. Select the best location for both storage and treatment, and make sure you have enough supplies for an emergency and a plan in case of a power outage.  

  • Stay warm. Some patients might feel cold while they are in session so a nice blanket or a hat can always help. 

  • Keep track of your symptoms. Flu-like symptoms, tiredness, weakness, and chills, are common for people on dialysis. You might also sleep more or be more forgetful due to anemia which can be treated. Be sure to keep your medical team informed about how you are doing.

  • Take advantage of dialysis time. It’s important to make the most of your at-home dialysis sessions and use your dialysis time in a way that benefits you. Catch up on emails, work on your computer, read a book, watch a movie or your favorite shows, listen to music, or do guided meditation to reduce stress. You could also use the time to talk to your family and friends or make those calls you never have time to make. 

  • Develop good habits. Eat right and drink properly, take your medicines, follow your doctors’ orders, and exercise. In order to feel well and keep your system in balance, it’s important to follow the nutrition plan provided by your dialysis dietitian. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase your strength and endurance, so check with your doctor to find out what type of exercise is safe for you. 

  • Establish a new normal. Try to get back to work and your routine as soon as you feel you can do it. It will make you feel good. You can return to many of your previous activities while on dialysis which will greatly benefit you in the long run. 

  • Stay positive and take one day at a time. Adjusting to kidney failure is easier if you take it one day at a time while focusing on the positive, thinking about how much better you feel after your sessions, and accepting that dialysis helps you and allows you to live your life. Some people live as long on dialysis as people without kidney failure. If you just can’t seem to stay positive, talk to your care team and get the help you need through this trying time.

Hemodiálisis En El Hogar

Hemodiálisis En El Hogar

En KidneySPA, inspiramos, empoderamos y mejoramos la vida de nuestros pacientes a través de la educación, la detección, la prevención y la atención renal integral. También entendemos que adaptarse a la vida con diálisis puede ser un desafío y que el proceso de hemodiálisis en el hogar puede ser difícil al principio, por lo que recomendamos seguir estos pasos para sentirse mejor tanto física como emocionalmente durante el proceso.

    • Obtenga capacitación, ayuda y apoyo. Si elige la diálisis en el hogar, deberá estar capacitado para hacerlo por su cuenta. Si decide contar con alguien para que lo ayude con el tratamiento, capacítense juntos y asegúrese de que esa persona permanezca con usted durante los procedimientos y asuma el compromiso. Hable con su equipo médico sobre cómo puede mejorar sus sesiones en el hogar y exprese sus inquietudes a un proveedor de atención médica, otros pacientes, un grupo de apoyo, su familia o un consejero.
    • Infórmese y conviértase en su propio apoyo. Aprenda lo relacionado a tratamientos de diálisis en el hogar con su equipo médico y eventualmente se convertirá en una rutina que le resultará relativamente fácil de seguir. Aprender sobre insuficiencia renal, medicamentos y su cuerpo también es fundamental. Cuanto más informado esté, más tranquilo se sentirá. Tómese la presión arterial y pésese para ser proactivo y practicar la medicina preventiva. Trabaje en su salud nutricional con su dietista e involucre a su familia y amigos.
    • Adopte una rutina. Establecer una rutina siempre es muy útil. Asegúrese de permanecer en la máquina durante toda la sesión. Perder sólo unos minutos puede resultar en una diálisis menos efectiva y afectar seriamente su salud.
    • Encuentre el espacio adecuado en su hogar. El tratamiento de diálisis en el hogar requiere un espacio de almacenamiento seco para su equipo. Seleccione la mejor ubicación para el almacenamiento y el tratamiento, y asegúrese de tener suficientes suministros para una emergencia y un plan en caso de un corte eléctrico.
    • Manténgase abrigado. Algunos pacientes pueden sentir frío durante las sesiones, por lo que una buena manta o un gorro suelen ser de mucha ayuda.
    • Lleve un registro de sus síntomas. Los síntomas similares a la gripe, cansancio, debilidad y escalofríos son comunes en las personas en diálisis. También puede dormir más o ser más olvidadizo debido a la anemia que puede tratarse. Asegúrese de mantener informado a su equipo médico sobre su estado.
    • Aproveche el tiempo de diálisis. Es importante aprovechar al máximo sus sesiones de diálisis en el hogar y usar este tiempo para su beneficio. Póngase al día con los correos electrónicos, trabaje en su computadora, lea un libro, vea una película o sus programas favoritos, escuche música o practique meditación guiada para reducir el estrés. También puede usar el tiempo para hablar con su familia y amigos o hacer esas llamadas que nunca tiene tiempo de hacer.
    •  Desarrolle buenos hábitos. Coma bien y beba adecuadamente, tome sus medicamentos, siga las órdenes de su médico y haga ejercicio. Para sentirse bien y mantener su sistema en equilibrio, es importante seguir el plan de nutrición proporcionado por su dietista de diálisis. El ejercicio es una de las mejores formas de reducir el estrés y aumentar su fuerza y ​​resistencia, así que consulte con su médico para averiguar qué tipo de ejercicio es seguro para usted.
    •  Establezca una nueva normalidad. Intente volver al trabajo y a su rutina habitual tan pronto como sienta que puede hacerlo. Lo hará sentir bien. Puede retomar muchas de sus actividades anteriores mientras está en diálisis, lo que lo beneficiará enormemente a largo plazo.
    • Mantenga una actitud positiva y tómese un día a la vez. Adaptarse a la insuficiencia renal es más fácil si lo toma un día a la vez enfocándose en lo positivo, pensando cuánto mejor se siente después de sus sesiones y aceptando que la diálisis lo ayuda y le permite vivir. Algunas personas viven con diálisis tanto tiempo como aquellas sin insuficiencia renal. Si siente que no puede mantener una actitud positiva, hable con su equipo médico y obtenga la ayuda que necesita durante este momento difícil.

What is a Kidney Health Coach?

What is a Kidney Health Coach?

Kidney Health Coaches raise awareness about kidney disease and its risk factors in communities nationwide. This program, created by the American Kidney Fund, has been around for years to help educate people about these critically important organs. 

These individuals are called ‘coaches’ because they form strong relationships with their team and help encourage others to prevent and fight kidney disease. Kidney Health Coaches are trained to educate others in preventing, managing and treating kidney disease. They can become role models and mentors to those who struggle with kidney disease. 

Anyone can become a Kidney Health Coach by completing a short course through the American Kidney Fund’s free community health education program. The course is made with beginners in mind, and anyone interested in educating others about kidney disease can join. However, people who already work in healthcare often find this course just as beneficial as those with no professional training.

Kidney Health Coach training is online and takes only 45 minutes, followed by a short quiz. Once you pass, you will then be an official Kidney Health Coach equipped with the tools to educate others about kidney disease!

As a coach, you have access to newly updated educational resources, incentives for participation and, most importantly, access to support and guidance from dedicated AKF staff members. Coaches can also find support and share their experiences through the connected community of Kidney Health Coaches doing similar work.

Find out more about Kidney Health Coaches here, and become one today to bring greater awareness to kidney disease!

New to Dialysis? Tips for First-Time Patients

Kidney Spa Patient Consultation
Kidney Spa Patient Consultation

New to Dialysis? Tips for First-Time Patients

Reaching a point in your health journey where dialysis is required can be intimidating at first, but KidneySpa has some tips and information for first-timers. First-time dialysis patients should be ready to change their habits and routines, from your favorite activities to how you care for your body. But remember: you can always make changes and adjustments throughout your treatment process. Everyone’s experience with dialysis is unique, but as experts in renal care and dialysis, we put together some helpful tips for first-time patients.

Research & Ask Questions Before starting your treatment, it’s good to understand how dialysis works. Ask your team about the process – how long, how often, what it involves, etc. Also ask about insurance coverage, transportation, community resources and anything else you want to know.

Focus on Your Wellness Doctors recommend that anyone on dialysis consider dietary and lifestyle changes to improve their health. If you can, talk with a dietitian about the phosphate binders you might be taking, advice on what foods to avoid, how to track your eating habits and more.

Meet the Team Before You Go Knowing your team and familiarizing yourself with the facility beforehand can make you feel more comfortable on your first day of treatment. Call ahead to ask for a tour and ask for recommendations on what to wear, what to bring and what to leave at home.

Know You’re Not Alone You probably won’t be the only one going through dialysis on any given day, and soon your dialysis center will become a kind of home away from home. Bring an open mind to your first appointment, because you never know when you’ll meet a lifelong friend!

Our team at KidneySPA is ready to answer all your questions and guide you on your kidney care journey. Contact us to schedule a tour. 

Adopta un estilo de vida saludable para cuidar tus riñones

Adopta un estilo de vida saludable para cuidar tus riñones

Aunque muy pequeños, los riñones realizan una gran tarea recogiendo y eliminando los residuos resultantes de todo lo que comemos y bebemos al filtrar la sangre y, a través de la orina, eliminar los desechos y el exceso de líquido que se acumulan en el organismo. 

Los riñones también ayudan a controlar la presión arterial y la acidez de la sangre, participan en la producción de glóbulos rojos y ayudan a mantener el equilibrio del agua y los electrolitos, como el sodio y el potasio que contribuyen a nuestra salud ósea. 

Mantener y preservar nuestra salud renal, y tener una buena calidad de vida, es una tarea a la cual podemos contribuir cotidianamente con buenos hábitos, como hacer ejercicio regularmente, reducir la ingesta de azúcar y sal, controlar la presión arterial, comer sano, mantener un peso saludable, hidratarnos bien y evitar el tabaquismo y la automedicación.

Buenos hábitos para su salud renal 

    • Una dieta saludable y el control del peso son grandes aliados de su salud y ayudan a la prevención. Mantenga un peso saludable y trabaje con su médico o dietista para crear un plan alimenticio a su medida.
    • Pregunte a su médico qué tipo y cantidad de actividad física es conveniente para usted. 
    • Duerma 8 horas cada noche. 
    • Evite el tabaco y limite la ingesta de alcohol.
    • Explore actividades para reducir el estrés, relajarse y mejorar su salud física y emocional. La actividad física puede ayudar a disminuir el estrés, así como las prácticas que involucran la mente y el cuerpo, como la meditación y el yoga.
    • Beba medio galón de agua al día. Mantenerse hidratado ayuda a la presión arterial y a la función renal.
    • Revise sus niveles de azúcar en sangre.
    • Tome todas las medicinas que le prescriba su médico y tenga cuidado con el uso de medicinas de venta libre. 
    • Mantenga sus niveles de colesterol dentro del rango establecido. 

Consejos para cocinar saludable

    • Consuma alimentos saludables como frutas y vegetales frescos, proteínas, lácteos descremados y disminuya la sal y azúcar añadidos.
    • Cocine con una mezcla de especias en lugar de sal, e incluya vegetales como espinaca y brócoli.
    • Prepare carne, pollo o pescado al horno o en el asador, en lugar de freírlos.
    • Evite las salsas o grasas añadidas.
    • Elija alimentos con poca o sin azúcar añadida.
    • Ingiera alimentos hechos de granos enteros.
    •  Lea las etiquetas de los alimentos y escoja aquellos bajos en grasas saturadas, grasas trans, colesterol, sodio y azúcares añadidos.

Let’s Celebrate National Donate Life Month

Let's Celebrate NAtional Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM) and a chance to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. When it comes to donating organs, kidneys are special because they’re one of just a handful of organs that can be donated by a living person.

Making a live kidney donation is an incredibly brave sacrifice that can save another person’s life. That’s why at KidneySPA we celebrate donors as the heroes they are!

Here are some key facts about kidney donation:

  • More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a kidney donation.
  • 85% of patients waiting for a transplant are waiting on a new kidney.
  • The average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is 3-5 years.

Because a person can live with only one kidney, a living donor offers patients an alternative to years of dialysis while they wait on the transplant list. Living donors can reduce this wait time to a year or less, and after the transplant, the donor’s remaining kidney will enlarge and start doing the work of two healthy kidneys.

So, who can donate a kidney? Family members are usually the most biologically compatible living donors, but many transplants occur between unrelated people. Different transplant centers have their own guidelines, but in general, living donors must be at least 18 years old, in good physical and mental health, and undergo an exam.
If you’re interested in becoming a real-life hero by saving someone’s life, register yourself as a living organ donor!