Get support to help you take control
Living with a long-term condition brings challenges and it’s important to have the confidence, support and information to take control of your condition. This is called self care, which means looking after yourself in a healthy way, whether it?s taking your medicine properly or doing some exercise.
Self care doesn’t mean you need to manage on your own. You can expect lots
of support from the NHS, including:

? healthy lifestyle support: helping you improve your diet and exercise regime
? information: advice about your condition and its treatment
? training: helping you feel more confident about living with your condition
? tools and equipment: making life easier at home
? support networks: help with finding people to share your experiences with

This guide will give you lots of advice and practical information. If you?re not sure
where to start, our simple self-assessment tool will point you in the right direction.

The kidneys filter waste products from the blood before turning it to urine. This video explains in detail how the kidneys function.

Advice for new kidney patients

Kidney disease often has no symptoms, so diagnosis can be a shock. You may worry that your kidney disease will worsen and that you’ll end up on dialysis.
In fact, the outlook in most cases is more reassuring. Kidney disease is common and usually stable (not going to get worse). Fewer than one in 20 people with the condition ever have kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
“People who have just found out they have kidney disease should try not to panic,” says Tim Statham of the National Kidney Federation (NKF). “A poor kidney function does not necessarily lead to kidney failure. There may be a perfectly normal cause, such as your age. As with other organs, kidney function naturally slows down as you get older.”

Lifestyle tips for kidney disease
Although your kidney disease is unlikely to get worse or cause you serious day-to-day problems, it is a warning about your future health. That?s because kidney disease, even if it?s mild and stable, automatically puts you at higher-than-average risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you have kidney disease you’ll benefit even more than the general population from improving your lifestyle and looking after your heart. The NHS will support and advise you, and you can help yourself by doing the following:
? Lose any excess weight and exercise regularly (at least 150 minutes each week for the average adult). Find out if you are a healthy weight using this tool to check your BMI. Read more about how to lose weight.
? Stop smoking. Read more about how the NHS can help you stop smoking.
? Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Read how to achieve a balanced diet.
? Reduce the salt in your diet to help keep your blood pressure down. Read more about how to cut down on salt.

? Take extra care to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar at normal levels if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.
? Drink water normally and when you feel you want to, unless you’ve been advised otherwise by your doctor or dietitian. There’s no evidence that drinking extra water or fluids will help if you have kidney disease. Read more about how much water you should drink.
Here’s more information on how to look after yourself if you have kidney disease.
Vaccinations and kidney disease
It’s important that you are vaccinated against:
? hepatitis B
? flu (every year)
? pneumonia (also called the pneumo jab)

Kidney disease puts you at higher risk of catching flu. There’s also a greater chance if you catch flu that it will lead to more serious illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
Flu, hepatitis B and pneumonia vaccinations are free for kidney disease patients from your local GP surgery. The flu jab is available each autumn, from September.
Read more about the flu jab.
Read more about hepatitis B vaccination
Read more about the pneumo jab.
Medicines and kidney disease
If you have kidney disease, it’s important to take care with pharmacy medicines. as some can be potentially harmful. Read more about pharmacy remedies and kidney disease.
Kidney problems are aggravated by high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. If you also have either of these conditions your doctor will probably prescribe long-term daily tablets to prevent kidney damage.
Blood-pressure-lowering tablets called ACE inhibitors are usually prescribed. These protect the kidneys, but can sometimes cause a cough. If that happens, a similar group of tablets known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can be used.

Because kidney disease puts you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), your doctor may offer you medicines called statins. Statins lower the level of cholesterol in the blood, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

Severe kidney disease
Sometimes it?s not possible to stop kidney disease getting worse. If your kidney disease is already severe or in decline, your GP will refer you to a hospital-based kidney specialist team who will work out a treatment plan for you.

This may include following a special diet and taking additional medicines such as iron treatment to prevent anaemia, and vitamin D supplements for healthy bones and muscles.
The hospital team of doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists will help you prepare for the possibility of going on to dialysis or having a kidney transplant.

Further info for kidney patients
Read more about the treatment of kidney disease and living with the condition.
The NKF (National Kidney Federation) has information and advice for newly diagnosed patients. To order a free leaflet or speak to an adviser, call the NKF?s helpline on 0845 601 0209 or visit its website at

Written by Shannon Johnson | Published on July 9, 2012
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD


By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
Executive Director
P.O.BOX 17070AN 233244370345/23326370345/ 233208844791
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