First Steps When Diagnosed with Kidney Disease
So you've come from your doctor's appointment with a new diagnosis.
It's overwhelming. More doctors. More appointments. Maybe more medications.
But with it can come more resources.
Here are some first steps to making sure you are doing everything you can to prevent further decline of your kidneys.
Talk with Your Doctor about Referrals
Your physician will refer you to a nephrologist, a doctor that specializes in caring for and managing patients with kidney disease.
Your doctor may also send you for additional lab testing or medical procedures/tests to further assess your current health status. Bring a pen and notebook with you to take notes during your appointments so you can look back at the recommendations, appointment times, and other important notes to which you can refer back. If you want a referral form to work with a dietitian on your individualized diet, contact me to request one!
Ask your Doctor about Fluids
Depending on your stage of kidney disease, you may need to drink more water, or you may need to start a fluid restriction. By having this clarified with your doctor right away, you will know how to take better care of your kidneys.
Fluids all filter through your kidneys, so you want them to work enough without risking any further damage.
Everyone's fluid needs are different, so it's very important you work with your doctor and dietitian to determine what is best for you.
Keep a Food Journal
This is a very important first step! By writing down everything you eat and drink for at least a few days, you can really start to see where some things add up.
Or maybe you don't realize that you're eating half your dinner while you're cooking for the family.
The more detailed, the better.
For example, instead of writing "sandwich," writing out "2 slices rye bread, 3 slices low=sodium deli turkey, 1 slice American cheese, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 slice tomato" can say a whole lot more!
In working me, this can be very helpful to see where your starting line is and where your finish line may be. And the more details you have, the more tailored the recommendations and discussion can be! I will provide you with an online food recall for us to review during your sessions.
Some people like pen to paper. Some like apps like MyFitnessPal or National Kidney Foundation's Food Coach. Choose what works for YOU. And don't forget to look back at your progress!
Do Your Research
Just be sure your resources are reputable. Be careful with information found online about "curing kidney disease" or "detoxify your body." While the internet is a huge resource for great information, it can also be a huge pit of unreliable and potentially harmful information.
I recommend www.kidney.org, www.diabetes.org, and https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diet-nutrition to start.
These websites can provide some condition-specific guidelines on diet recommendations to help you keep your health a priority.
Not everyone needs to follow the same diet, even given the same disease. Kidney disease, especially, needs an individual diet. This is why working with me may be beneficial. I only provide recommendations that are appropriate for your body, your goals, and your needs.
Be the Team Leader
YOU are the common thread that ties your primary care physician, nephrologist, cardiologist, and any other healthcare providers together. Make sure you speak with your doctors about any medication changes or other orders one has made.
I keep communication lines open with your physicians by providing them with a brief summary (if allowed by you), so we are all on the same page.
YOU are the leader of this team!
As healthcare providers, we will all follow the path you chose. We are resources for you to help you live your best life, no matter what stage of kidney disease (or other conditions) you may have.
Want to work with a Registered Dietitian?
If you have a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease, your health insurance will likely cover individual sessions to improve your diet and maintain your kidney health.
Diet is that important.
Call your health insurance company and ask them about your covered services.
If you want help on the right questions to ask, book your free discovery call with me and I will walk you through it.
Disclaimer: Information provided by Jen Hernandez RD LLC is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information is intended for general consumer health and understanding. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult with your doctor prior to starting or changing your diet or medications.