The holiday season should be a happy and joyous time of the year to connect or reconnect with family and friends. However, for many with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), the holidays serve as a constant reminder of "better" times when they did not have to worry about their severe health restraints. Between dodging foods that fall outside of their diet restrictions, contending with other ailments (nausea, fatigue, pain), and struggling with a fixed budget; many people that have CKD may resent the holiday season. By keeping a few simple ideas in mind during this holiday season you will avoid additional problems and have an enjoyable time.
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Do not try to overdo it. The pressure to purchase gifts with money that you may not have is a source of stress and depression for many with CKD on a fixed income. Setting a realistic holiday budget and remembering that it is the "thought that counts" may help relieve stress and assist those with CKD in taking part in the joy of the holidays. Most people really do appreciate the thought of a heartfelt handwritten note.
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High blood pressure is the number two cause of Kidney Failure and it places those with CKD at an increased risk of heart disease. If your blood pressure is already high, remember to take your blood pressure medication as prescribed and be watchful of your renal diet restrictions.
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Loneliness can be especially present at this time of the year. However, you are not alone. Talk to your Social Worker if you feel unbearably depressed. Also, KidneyBuzz.com receives email messages everyday and although we are not medical professionals and offer no advice, KidneyBuzz.com staff is always willing to be a sympathetic ear.
Because your kidneys are not working very well (if at all), you have to be particularly careful about what you eat and drink during the holiday season because nutrients can build up in your blood and cause other problems with your heart and pain in your joints. So generally speaking, CKD patients will want to limit protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and fluid in their diet. Consult with your renal dietitian to help construct a tailored meal plan which works best for you during the holiday festivities.
Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol in large amounts can put CKD patients at risk of high blood pressure and a cardiovascular incident. So do not do it! What you should do is remember to stay physically active throughout the holidays. This can be your "Magic Bullet" as research has shown that at least 30 minutes of exercise five days of the week can help improve weight management, control blood pressure and reduce blood sugar all at the same time.
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The true challenges of the holidays are to prepare physically and emotionally. By planning in advance how you will spend your holidays, with whom and how you can budget your expenses can significantly reduce anxiety and depression as well as increase the possibility of having a positive experience. You will be the most fulfilled by spending time with people you love and who understand your personal restrictions. Hence, KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to have fun during the holidays by taking part in activities you enjoy and stretching yourself a little by trying these new strategies this holiday season.
*Note: Do not forget to order your No BP/No Stick Medical Alert Bracelet!