KidneyCoach: Success Tips

Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.
— John Rohnert

 These tips will reduce the risks of  hospitalization and will generally improve your overall quality of life by addressing head on those issues that may worry you,  mistakes that are  commonly made, and misconceptions frequently held.

Tip#1. Eat a DIET to live

Eat  highly nutritious food rather than a diet containing lots of fried foods and refined carbohydrates.  Desirable intake will be low in sodium and low in fluid .  It will also include fresh fruit, fish, lean protein, vegetables, and some healthy fats.  Consult with your Dietician for ideas, and KidneyBuzz will have a daily recommendation.

Tip#2. Make PHYSICAL ACTIVITY a part of your daily life

Recognizing  that "one site does not fit all", and  this site is aimed primarily at visitors concerned with varying levels of disability,  you are encouraged to attempt to get exercise according to your ability.  For example, look for as many opportunities for physical activity as possible throughout the day.  Try to dismiss the hype that is being marketed in the media about losing 100 pounds  in as many days.  Remember, the more physical activity you  get during your regular daily activity such as parking a little further away or taking the stairs, the less "contrived  exercise" you have to do in the gym or on the stationary bike.   However, if you feel that you should do more  like walking or chair and floor exercises, set and track reasonable goals for yourself (get input from your doctor before you begin your routine) because it will help in keeping your metabolism up and your weight down.

Tip#3. Becareful with MEDS 

Take your medications which are prescribed on time and correctly.  Also be careful to avoid excessive use of over the counter pain medication which can damage or cause further damage to your kidneys.

Tip#4. The severe fatigue and chills you feel may be ANEMIA

It is created by a low number of circulating red blood cells.  Tests can be ordered to measure the Hemoglobin which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.  If you learn that you are anemic make sure you know the symptoms so you can determine at what level of Hemoglobin  the symptoms improve.  Ensure that the Hemoglobin level is being systematically monitored (every 2 weeks).  Recognize that Iron deficiency reduces the responsiveness of the medication (EPO) from increasing the Hemoglobin levels, and therefore needs to be monitored (every month) to see if you need to be given Iron.  Finally you should personally measure and record  your Blood Pressure to make sure there is no increase.  It is important to seriously try to control your anemia because it can adversely affect the quality of your life and your very survival.

Tip#5. SMOKING worsens kidney problems

If you can't quit altogether immediately, try to reduce smoking as much as possible, and  as fast as you can because there is an abundance of evidence that tobacco smoke makes kidney problems worse.  Also, you may check with your insurance provider for non- smoking programs.

TIP#6. DOCTORS' VISITS are no joke 

Try your best to keep your Access Evaluation Appointments with the surgeon,  and your Check Up Appointments with your Nephrologist.  It is extremely important for you to develop an open communication with him or her.   Discuss current symptoms you may be experiencing, including any allergies or other problems  you may suffer from, and how you are feeling generally. Don't be afraid to share any lingering questions that you may have on your mind.


The Fistula is the recommended choice for an access.  It is preferred because it has fewer problems, and last longer.  Second, is the Graft which involves the use of synthetic material when your veins are not suitable.  Third is the Catheter which is only used for emergency dialysis,  and when a Fistula or Graft cannot be used.  The Catheter does not provide adequate cleaning, is more likely to become infected,  increases  clotting, and  requires replacement more often.

Tip#8. Do not miss any DIALYSIS TREATMENTS 

If you have to miss because of illness or other issues, reschedule as soon as possible.


Keeping your Access Site clean, holding it properly, and bringing irregularities to the attention of your healthcare provider will reduce visits to the vascular surgeon, as well as avoid interruptions to adequate cleaning (Kt/v of 1.2 or better).


Because  End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is an irreversible impairment which requires permanent dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant to live,  members of the Kidney Community are beneficiaries of some  US Federal Programs  such as the  Social Security Act and the CMS (Medicare and Medicaid).  If you think you may qualify (you have to meet certain criteria) as a beneficiary of any of these programs, and are having problems regarding coverage, contact your Social Worker so that your  problems can be resolved in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary and unhealthy stress.


Members of the  Kidney Community on dialysis and those who receive kidney transplants face stresses connected to both their illnesses and the treatments.  Those stresses include dependence/independence issues, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction.  Sometimes medication is prescribed for these problems.  But dealing with these types of stress is not simply addressed by taking pills, rather it may be more important to openly communicate with your health care team so that a comprehensive strategy  can be developed including showing you how to personally handle such stressful situations effectively.

Tip#12. Mean what you say, and say what you mean with your LIVING WILL and ADVANCED DIRECTIVE

Document your medical decisions including your treatment preferences in order to protect your desires  when you are unable to speak for yourself.  These consist of your specific instructions regarding your medical care.


It is your duty to speak up and speak out about substandard or safety issues whether your dialysis is done in center or at home.  The best way to do this is to use to learn how to become a subject matter expert.

Tip#14. Utilize for your CONTINUING EDUCATION  

The website provides news, information and outreach to empower the Kidney Community.  Remember that "s/he who has knowledge has power."  You should strive to keep up to date so that you can become a critically thinking consumer of kidney Health Information.   This can be done simply and easily by checking in daily to where you will find fresh information provided regularly that  is relevant to your survival and the quality of your life.

Recommended Reading:

Glossary of Commonly Used Terms: Features definitions of terms found in the treatment of Kidney Disease.

The 5 Stages Of Kidney Disease: Kidney Disease is described as having five stages (Stage 1 to Stage 5) based on the percentage of kidney function remaining. Determine your stage and how to prevent further progression.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Alternatives: Over 275,000 Americans rely on dialysis to live,  and nearly twice that number receive therapy for ESRD. Find out what treatment plan works best for your lifestyle.

Monitoring Lab Results: Blood tests are taken routinely on a monthly basis, and though they may vary slightly from one lab to another, note the standard ranges for key tests. Identify strategies to manage test results and maintain a higher level of energy and health.

Kidney Community Resources: These organizations service the Kidney Community.