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The Ultimate A to Z Guide to Chronic Renal Failure (Part 2)

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.

O is for Om (Meditation)
Ommmmmmmm….Meditation

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 Gongchronic renal failure
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.

The Ultimate A to Z Guide to Chronic Renal Failure (Part 1)

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In today’s article I want to talk to you about chronic renal failure; what it is, what causes it, the best blood tests, and a whole lot more. However, today I want to do something a little different, I want to break it down in to an A to Z guide so you can quickly reference the major key topics – so in that way you have a valuable resource to refer back to in the future.

Interesting…

Chronic renal failure is an interesting condition, it affects 2 out of every 1,000 people in the United States; 11% of all deaths in Australia are due to, or associated with, renal failure; 20 to 30 percent of people with diabetes will develop kidney disease; 1 in 9 adults have a minimum of one renal failure sign or symptom; it is one the quickest growing diseases in the world… yet it is still largely not a condition that many understand, or have been appropriately informed about.

Definition:

But before I go into any specifics with this condition, I wanted to quickly define exactly what I am referring to when I say “Chronic Renal Failure”. For the purposes of this article, chronic renal failure means any dis-ease of the kidneys that causes diminishment of kidney function, as shown by an estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate test (eGFR). In contrast, the term “End Stage Renal Failure” only describes kidneys that have a kidney function of less than 15%.

The Ultimate A-Z Guide To Chronic Renal Failure

A is for Alkaline
Alkalinity is an important concept to understand and implement when dealing with chronic kidney failure. Alkalinity is a must for your body’s tissues to survive and thrive. In fact, your body will do anything it can to keep your blood pH in the narrow window of 7.35 to 7.45pH – your body will literally break down its bones for the calcium contained within them to keep your body alkaline!

Normally however, keeping the body acid/alkaline balance within your body is the job of the kidneys. When your kidneys begin to diminish in function so too does their ability to excrete the acid and maintain the alkalinity in your blood. Therefore eating an alkaline diet is the best way to protect and improve the health of your kidneys.

To add further strain on already strained kidneys, many of today’s lifestyle choices are acid forming as well as changes to our environment:

  • Diet: e.g. alcohol, sugar, coffee, red meat, grains
  • Chemicals: e.g. industrial chemicals, cleaning products, paint, makeup and cosmetics
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Excess exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking

For more information on alkalinity and the alkaline diet, please see my article here.

B is for Blood tests
I cannot emphasise how important it is to get your blood regularly tested. Blood tests help in the following ways:blood tests

  • Monitors the progression of your condition
  • Tracks that your treatments are working
  • Informs you of any abnormal developments in your health
  • Allows you to tailor your diet to suit your needs e.g. potassium, phosphorus, sodium, vitamin D, and calcium levels
  • By knowing the current state of your body, and understanding that state, you’re better equipped to make positive changes. It is shown people feel more in control and are more likely to make the changes when they understand their condition and all facets related to their condition.
  • It will show you your current percentage of kidney function

The best blood tests to assess your renal failure are:

  1. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)
  2. Creatinine
  3. 24hr creatinine clearance
  4. Urinalysis
  5. BUN
  6. Kidney biopsy
  7. Imaging

Please see my article here for a detailed description of each test in chronic renal failure: Top 7 Kidney Tests To Measure Your Kidney Function

Other important tests include: Potassium levels, Sodium levels, Phosphate levels, Vitamin D levels, Calcium levels, Parathyroid hormone levels, and Hemoglobin levels.

Top 7 Tips For A Healthy Renal Diet

renal diet

Today I wanted to clear up a few things in regards to what constitutes a healthy renal diet. I receive emails daily from confused and at their “wits end” kidney disease sufferers, wanting to know what they can eat. Especially what they CAN eat, not what they CAN’T eat (fair enough too).

This problem lays not in whether or not the right information is out there, but unfortunately in that all the good information has been diluted by all the garbage out there. Mass article writers, without any medical training, and even worse, (some) large kidney health organisations are to blame. Articles are prepared to supply a demand, but are not based on any proper healthy renal diet knowledge.

A diet can be healthy for one person, and harmful to another, a diet can be deemed healthy in terms of the right proportions of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, but totally miss the mark in taking into account foods that have a directed negative impact to the kidneys. This is the problem, and this why you are reading one article that says “X”, and another that says “Y”.

And so my goal today is to provide reliable, trustworthy renal diet information based on sound naturopathic and nutritional teachings to provide you with the top 7 tips on how to eat a healthy renal diet – so that you may at least have your foundations right; because without healthy dietary foundations, then any renal failure diet guidelines you follow… will fail.

Here Are My Top 7 Healthy Renal Diet Tips:

1. Consume: Everyone is telling you want you can’t eat, so I decided to tell you first what you can eat. Nothing’s better to knock the wind out of your sails while you are trying to come to terms with your current health situation, than to be faced we a wall of “Can’t have’s”, and “Should not’s”.

The list of foods below is deemed “healthy” in kidney disease, but also some of the foods are especially beneficial for kidney disease. These foods are marked with an asterix*.

Fruits: Apples, without skin; Apricot; Blueberries*; Grapes, red or green; Peach; Pears, asian; Pineapple; Plums; Raspberries*; Strawberries; Watermelon*.
Vegetables: Asparagus*; Cabbage, red; Cauliflower; Celery; Garlic; Lettuce, iceberg; Mushrooms; Onion; Parsley; Radishes; Mung beans, sprouted.
Protein: Fish*; Chicken; Tempeh*; Tofu*.
Miscellaneous: Carob (good alternative to chocolate); Flaxseed Oil*; Hummus; Popcorn, air-popped; Rice, white; Sea Salt; Olive Oil; Olives; Horseradish; Tapioca pearls; Oregano; Curry Powder; Sesame seed kernels; Paprika; Macadamia nuts.

Of course there are more foods than this that you can eat while suffering with renal failure, the difference being is that these foods are “healthy”. It is also important to note that these foods also satisfy the requirements of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium content for renal diet (as explained below), but with most things in life, you can have too much of a good thing – therefore the foods are healthy when eaten at normal servings sizes per day. Don’t overdo anything, moderation is the key.

2. Avoid: Unfortunately this tip cannot be avoided, there are simply foods that are downright bad for your kidneys, and these need to be removed from your renal diet. Here are a list of foods deemed “bad” for kidney disease, and therefore should be avoided in your renal diet:
Red meat: See my article on negative effects of red meat here
Dairy: this includes, milk, butter, cream, ice-cream, yoghurt, and all dairy containing pre-made products.
Alcohol: ALL alcohol, including red wine.
Gluten: is found in flour based products; and therefore in the following grains: wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, oats, and barley. Safe gluten FREE grains and alternatives include: rice, corn, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and buckwheat.
Highly processed foods
Sugar

There are many more foods that I could list, but these main categories encompass the best part of them. If you can follow an unprocessed, whole food renal diet, then meal times will be a breeze. If you resist change, and resort to processed, take-away, and pre-packaged foods, then you will struggle, and fail to realise the benefits that a healthy renal diet can have on you and your kidneys.