Practical Strategies for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients To Avoid Heightened Risk Of Heart Failure

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Cardiovascular disease (heart and blood pressure disease) is the leading cause of death for people suffering with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Are you making the simple and achievable lifestyle changes to help maintain your heart health? Cardiovascular disease does not happen quickly, it takes time to buildup plaque (cells, fat and cholesterol) in the arteries which block blood from traveling to the heart and brain. You can prevent heart and vessel disorders by taking a few proactive steps that will combat your heightened likelihood of a cardiovascular event even with underlying issues such as high rates of Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Anemia, poor balance of minerals and increased levels of fats (i.e. cholesterol).

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You should keep your blood pressure less than 140/90 before treatment and less than 130/80 after it (new study recommends "110-115/70-75"). Take you blood pressure medication as prescribed by your Nephrologist and you may also consider longer or more frequent dialysis treatments to increase fluid removal (ultrafiltration).

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Check in with your Dietician as often as you need to structure a diet high in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. salmon) and the "right" amount of protein and calories to stay at a healthy personal weight. Also, try your best to avoid stressful feelings of sadness, anger and worry that may contribute to heart strain. Your Social Worker should be able to help you cope with stressful feelings and you should speak to him/her on a regular basis.

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Move as much as you can because exercising four days a week can help to keep your blood from clotting, ease stress, reduce blood pressure, boost "good" cholesterol and keep your weight at an appropriate level. If you are anemic then it is difficult to find the energy for any extra movement so correcting anemia with Epogen (EPO) and Iron therapy can directly improve your heart health. Your treatment goal should be to reach a hemoglobin level of approximately 11.

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It is important that you learn how to manage your cardiovascular risk, and if you already have heart disease to keep it from worsening. KidneyBuzz.com suggests that continually educating yourself about ways to protect against cardiovascular incidents is the best way to prevent a heart attack or stroke.

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Reference: "A Guide to Heart Health fir Dialysis Patients." National Kidney Foundation.