The rate at which people are suffering from kidney disease is currently alarming. 1 out of every 6 patients admitted to the medicine unit suffers from one renal impairment or another.
There was a patient for whom I was called to give dietary advice based on acute kidney injury: a young lady under the age of 23. I was quite shocked to see her in such a condition. I asked her certain questions to determine what could have led to her present condition. She said she was living with her relatives. They never gave her proper treatment whenever she was sick. According to her, they usually give her paracetamol, no matter how sick she is.
It got to a point where her widowed mother had to come over and take her home. At this point, oedema, fatigue, nausea, a loss of appetite, and sometimes vomiting were present.
Presently, she is on hemodialysis. Of course, they are struggling to raise the money for such management. I decided to talk to her about her diet. She said that she hasn’t eaten in the past 24 hours, and the little she has eaten was from the leftovers of another patient in the ward.
I learned that the person catering for her treatment and feeding had an accident and died.
I was moved with compassion. How can I start advising her on what to eat when she doesn’t have anything to eat? I have to rally around to raise money from my colleagues to get her a decent meal that would last her for at least 3 days. While the medical team contributed to her drugs.
This woman does not have money for basic food; talk more about getting her drugs or dialysis. What does this story have to do with you?
You see, people should understand that renal or kidney impairment does not happen abruptly like that. (Unless acute, which is usually infectious.) It takes time to manifest.
One has to be health conscious, have a healthy lifestyle, increase physical activity, cut down on carbonated drinks, herbal concussions, and alcohol, cut down on pastries, limit excess sodium intake, avoid hard drugs and self-medications, lose excess weight, and maintain regular medical checkups. Kidney disease can send you into the dungeon of poverty no matter how rich you are currently, especially if the condition has reached kidney failure.
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No matter how much you think you have, maintaining dialysis won’t be enough. When one does a transplant, there is no guarantee that the body will fully accept the foreign organ. It’s better to prevent such situations than to seek treatment.
We all need to be kidney-health conscious. It’s a duty we owe to our kidneys.
✓ Increase intake of fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
✓ Replace carbonated drinks with fruits and vegetables.
✓ Cut down on fried and saturated fats.
✓ Cut down on the use of canned foods.
✓ Drink water as much as possible.
✓ Eat more lean animal protein.
✓ Eat less salt (I will write about this soon).
Are you kidney-health conscious? Which of these lifestyles are you guilty of or addicted to? Let me know in the comment section.
Soromfechi Okereke (RDN)
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