This article is a continuation of my previous article entitled The Ultimate A to Z Guide to Chronic Renal Failure (Part 1), in this article I continue where I left off and detail letters N through to Z. Enjoy…
N is for Natural Treatments
Ahhh my favourite topic! I LOVE natural medicines; there is something about working with the power of nature that really gets me really excited! (I’m a little weird I know)
There is a full gamut of natural remedies and techniques, such as herbal medicine, nutrition, diet, homeopathics, flower essences, and a whole lot more, that have for many of my clients, improved kidney function, reversed kidney disease, and safe-guarded from further chronic renal failure.
I have been using natural medicines now for over 10 years, and through that time I have learnt a thing or two, the best discovery was that by using certain natural medicines I was able to affect change in the health of my client’s kidneys and lives!
Side Note: This all started when my wife’s nanna was diagnosed kidney disease four years ago, and we had to find a solution. She was at stage three, bordering on stage 4, and well, thankfully today she does not have chronic renal failure any longer.
The important thing to note is this. If you have been recently diagnosed (or had chronic renal failure for many years for that matter) please know that there is an alternative out there that your doctor wouldn’t have discussed. You don’t have to put up with “There is nothing we can do… When your kidneys get bad enough, your options are dialysis and transplantation…”
When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown
If you would like to find out more of the exact program I use to help thousands of people world-wide improve their kidney health, please check out my site here.
Meditating is any technique which enables us to relax our body and our mind, and to free our mind of unnecessary thoughts. Eastern civilizations have been practicing this for thousands of years; just “knowing” that it improves the health of the mind, body and soul. They often practiced to achieve certain outcomes e.g. rejuvenation of the mind and nervous system, to let go of disease-causing thought patterns, muscular relaxation and self-development.
Chronic renal failure responds dramatically to the practice of meditation, and for this reason it is recommended to become part of your daily or weekly routine.
Today studies now prove what the ancients already knew, showing the following physiological changes:
- Slower heart rate
- Slower breathing rate
- Lowered cortisol levels in the blood
- Increased alpha brain waves, a brain wave associated with relaxation
- Among many other physiological changes
P is for Protein & Phosphorus
Protein: Another important nutrient one must monitor its consumption of, is Protein. Protein is a misunderstood nutrient when it comes to chronic renal failure, as in some situation one needs to reduce protein, and in others it needs to be increased. What to do? Well, first up you need to speak to your naturopath, nutritionist or doctor for the best requirements for your condition. They will be able to tell you exactly your protein needs based on your stage of chronic renal failure.
For a complete breakdown of the levels of protein you need to be consuming for your stage of kidney disease please see my in-depth article: The Definitive Guide on Protein and Kidney Disease
Phosphorus: The kidneys regulate the mineral phosphorus in the blood stream, and for that reason when one has chronic renal failure this ability can become impaired, causing phosphorus levels to rise. Phosphorus at “healthy” levels helps build strong teeth and bones (among many other benefits), but when levels become high, phosphorus can the opposite effect, by leaching out calcium from the teeth and bones. This “leeched” calcium also makes its way to the blood stream causing abnormal calcium deposits, and too much phosphorus can cause itchy skin, bone pain, heart issues, or even death.
The important thing to note is that not all sufferers of chronic renal failure will develop high phosphate levels, and therefore you need to always confirm your levels with a blood test.
To know the recommended phosphorus daily allowance for stage of kidney disease, please see this article.
Q is for Qi Gong
Qigong is another practice that I recommend for those suffering with chronic renal failure, for it is rejuvenating qualities for the body and mind; which is oh so necessary for individuals with chronic renal failure.
What is Qigong? Qigong is the practice of aligning the breath, body, and mind as one, and harnessing and working with the vital force (Chi) that exists within and all around us. Through this, a deeper connection to yourself and life is established and greater awareness and peace is achieved. Although Qigong is not as well known as Tai Chi, Qigong and Tai Chi share a similar philosophy, technique, and origin. In fact many people mistake Qigong for Tai Chi when practiced.
In my blog post 10 Ways To Improve Kidney Function Without Leaving Home I talk more in depth about the benefits of Qigong in chronic renal failure, and provide a video showing how enhance your kidney energy through Qigong.
R is for Rest & Relaxation
Stress, in my opinion, is the number one cause of disease in the western world. Smoking and poor dietary choices come close, but from my experience, stress is by far a bigger killer.
The groundbreaking work of Dr. Bruce Lipton in his book “The Biology of Belief” show-cases this sentiment perfectly – It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.
Consequently, when one is stressed, a whole cascade of inflammatory molecules are produced in response to that stress (among many other disease causing physiological responses); which is important to avoid when suffering from chronic renal failure.
Rest and relaxation should become a ritual within your day. It is needs to be prioritised. Are you thinking of working that extra day? Don’t. Are you taking a proper lunch break? Do. Are you doing the things you love daily? Please do.
My best tip to achieve rejuvenating rest and relaxation is to choose activities that cause time to stop. When you are lost in the moment, you are doing it right.
Possible activities could be: reading, writing, painting, sleeping , playing an instrument, walking, etc.
S is for Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of chronic renal failure can vary greatly, therefore many individuals go undiagnosed before it is too late. Know the signs and symptoms of chronic renal failure and be better prepared for any changes in your condition.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Changes In Urination
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Shortness of Breath/Difficulty Breathing
- Easy Bleeding and Bruising
- Back Pain / Kidney Pain
- Swelling or Puffiness
- High Blood Pressure
- Hypercalcaemia (high blood calcium levels)
- Hyperkalemia (high blood potassium levels)
- Hypernatraemia (high blood sodium levels)
- Hyperparathyroidism (high blood parathyroid hormone levels)
- Hyperphosphatemia (high blood phosphate levels)
- Hyponatraemia (low blood sodium levels)
- High Creatinine Levels
I have written two great articles here on renal failure symptoms (if I don’t mind saying so myself), you can find them here for your convenience:
- Renal Failure Symptoms? Know For Sure If You Have Renal Failure
- Kidney Disease Symptoms: The Top Ten Guide (and more…)
T is for Transplant
When one has completely lost all function of the kidneys (as in chronic renal failure), there are currently two main medical options to choose from: 1. Dialysis 2. Kidney Transplant.
Although an invasive and intensive treatment, the overwhelming majority of recipients are joyous to have a new lease on life without the need of routine dialysis treatments. In many respects transplantation is the preferred treatment for chronic renal failure out of the two (due to the freedom that it brings), but unfortunately the wait list to be a nominated recipient can be at times a distressing experience – long wait times, and the possibility that may never actually receive a donor kidney.
There is no “better” option out of the two, the choice between dialysis and a kidney transplant is purely an individual one. One needs to thoroughly way up the pros and cons for both treatments – in terms of health and lifestyle impact – and come to a decision on your own. Listen to yourself first, and specialists, doctors, and naturopaths second. This is your life, your body, and you need to be completely happy with your decision in this moment.
U is for Urinary Tract Infections
This is an important condition to aware of, as UTI’s can pose a risk of furthering the severity of chronic renal failure. It is always best to treat at the first sign of urinary tract infections before they have a chance at travelling to the kidneys. And although UTI’s do not commonly find their way to the kidneys, it always best to err on the safe side. I recommend following natural treatments first, as anti-biotics can cause chronic renal failure in some individuals. Thankfully I have a written an article detailing the best methods to eliminate urinary tract infections naturally, check it out here.
V is for Vitamin D
Like many nutrients in kidney disease, vitamin D is an important vitamin that needs to be routinely assessed to ensure lasting health, and protect you for any complications.
Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of bone health, the immune system, and the phosphorus and calcium balance, among many other functions. But most importantly, because the most active form of vitamin D is produced by the kidneys, it is essential that during chronic renal failure that vitamin D levels are assessed and maintained – it is a common occurrence that those with chronic renal failure have low circulating vitamin D levels.
Here are the optimal blood levels for vitamin D:
Optimal reference range for healthy individuals:
- US measurement: 50 to 70 ng/mL
- World measurement: 125 to 175 nmol/L
Optimal reference range for treating heart disease, cancer, and chronic renal failure:
- US measurement:70 to 80 ng/mL
- World measurement: 175 to 200 nmol/L
Please read my article on vitamin D’s relationship with Hyperparathyroidism and Kidney Disease here.
And please read my article: 10 Ways To Improve Kidney Function Without Leaving Home, as it talks about sunshine and the benefits of vitamin D for kidney disease (Tip #2).
W is for Weights
Weight training (aka resistance training) is one of the best forms of exercise for the health of your body, especially during chronic renal failure. Studies now show that there is a direct correlation between the amount of lean muscle mass one has, and the length of one’s life (increased correlation).
By increasing your lean muscle mass; you also increase your body’s ability to produce more energy. Little “energy centres” called “mitochondria” live inside the cells of your muscles, and produce the majority of energy you use on a day-to-day basis. Technically these power centres produce what is known as ATP.
If you are not a fan of using weights as a form of exercise, then you may like to do other activities that can give you similar benefits by using your body as the “weight”; Yoga and Pilates are excellent examples of this.
Overall just get moving! If you don’t like the suggestions above then at least do form of exercise, it will be better than nothing.
“You don’t have to take exercise seriously, just regularly”
On tip #4 of this article, I talk more about the benefits of exercise for chronic renal failure: http://www.kidneycoach.com/901/kidney-function-how-to-improve-naturally/
Y is for Yoga
I can’t say enough about Yoga, Yoga is probably one the most well-formed health ‘practices’ in the world today, as it affects every aspect of your being in the most amazing way. The literal translation of Yoga is “union” and “harmony”, union and harmony of body, mind and soul. The practice of Yoga integrates one’s body, mind and soul to achieve optimum health and wellbeing. You see, Yoga is a whole lot more than just physical stretching, as thought by western culture. Yoga is a complete science of life that originated in India many thousands of years ago. And many believe it to be the oldest system of personal development in the world.
On a physical level, the practicing of Yoga (postures, breathing, and mediation) tones and improves muscle flexibility, purifies the blood, regulates blood pressure, regulates the nervous system, releases energy blocks, improves circulation, lymphatic flow, joints, nervous system and therefore results in improved health for all of the organs of the body. On a mental level practicing yoga helps one gain greater mental awareness of their own body and content of mind. Therefore one of the benefits would be, being able to recognise why and where we create tension in our body and life.
Excitement, fun, joy, happiness! You know what? I can’t think of a better treatment for chronic renal failure. One needs these things in our lives, otherwise, what is the point of living? Seriously, it may be harsh, put what’s the point of getting up in the morning if you have nothing to live for?
By having something to live for, it will make implementing all the changes needed to get you well again a breeze. Plus it will make for a fuller and richer life experience.
So don’t be afraid, get out there a try new things. Create a top 20 “love” list: write down anything thing that you would “love” to do, big or small, and smart checking them off as you go. It could be reading that book you’ve wanted to forever, to travelling Europe, to learning how to play a musical instrument. You’ll be amazed at the self-confidence and self-esteem this exercise does for you. But remember write down only “loves” not “likes”.
Z is for Zzzzzzz
Rounding it all up at Z we have Sleep! (Pheeewww, I made it! And I think I may need some sleep after writing this!)
For the health of your kidneys and aiding in the recovery from chronic renal failure, it is essential that you have adequate amounts of sleep. Sleep duration is a very personal thing, and so the typical 8 hours a night may be too much or too little for you. A good test is that you feel refreshed in the morning upon waking.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of sleep in chronic renal failure, or if you have problems getting to and staying a sleep, then you better read my article here: Top 10 Tips On How To Get A Deep, Restful Sleep
Hooray! You made it all the way down to the end of this article, thank you for taking the time to read it (and congratulations! ). I hope that it provided you with some real “gems”, and I hope you will look upon this as a resource to hold you in good stead for the future.
If by chance you cheated (:-) and scrolled to the bottom… Back Up! Please make sure you read through this article as it contains a stack of information on the most important aspects in relation to chronic renal failure, and if by chance you missed the first part to the article you can view it here.
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About the Author: Hello, my name is Duncan Capicchiano, I am the owner and creator of KidneyCoach.com. My professional background is Naturopathy, and I am also an International Author and Researcher that specialises in the treatment and management of kidney disease. My most famous work in kidney disease is The Kidney Disease Solution Program. Lastly - but most importantly - I am the loving "father" of my two dogs Ruby and Pebbles, my horse Cossie, and husband to my beautiful wife, Fiona.