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Lifestyle Changes with Kidney Disease

15 Tips for a Good Life When You Have Kidney Disease

Your life may start to look different when you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), but you can still enjoy it. Taking things one step at a time may help. Below are 15 tips to help you enjoy a good life as your lifestyle changes: 

  1. Learn all you can about kidney disease and especially your own condition. Work with your care team to find out how the information applies to you. Talk to other people and ask questions on the myDaVita forums, read articles, attend Kidney Smart Classes and watch educational videos
  2. Believe in yourself! There are people and resources to help you become your own best advocate to help you live well with CKD. If you don't understand something, or if something seems wrong, speak up. Ask for help when you need it.
  3. Learn about your medications, their proper dosages, names, and the purpose of each one. 
  4. Track your lab test values over time and learn what they mean. While your health care team knows a lot about kidney disease, you are the expert on you.
  5. Find out the symptoms of CKD and report any of your own to your doctor.
  6. Work with your health care team to determine a kidney-friendly diet that is right for you.
  7. Exercise regularly, as you're able to.
  8. Stay employed. Learn about your rights to keep your job if you need to take time off or should ever need to go on dialysis.
  9. Understand the importance of insurance. Resources such as patient advocates, medical social workers, patient organizations, Medicare and your state insurance bureau can help.
  10. If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar can help slow the progression of kidney disease. Find out what your target blood pressure should be, as well, and work with your doctor to do what you must to keep it there.
  11. Be aware of the possible complications of kidney disease, including: anemia, metabolic acidosis, bone diseasecardiovascular diseasefluid overload, high potassium and phosphorus and others.
  12. If your kidney disease is severe, understand your treatment options, from home dialysis to transplant. Call DaVita Guest Services at 1-800-244-0680 if you have any questions or want to visit a center.
  13. If you're on dialysis, do all of the treatments your doctor prescribes to you so you can try to feel your best.
  14. If you have a transplant, take all your medications on schedule. Watch for any signs of infection, rejection or other illness.
  15. Pay attention to your emotions. Give yourself time to adjust and feel in control again. You may be dealing with uncertainty about the future or with changes in your lifestyle and relationships—these are normal feelings.