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Caring for Yourself When You Have Kidney Failure

Kidney failure and its treatment will mean changes in your daily life. Whatever changes you need to make, your healthcare team can help you with them.

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In most cases, you will be able to continue working.

Your Daily Life

You may wonder how your treatment will fit into the rest of your life. But, with some changes, you can live a full life with kidney failure. If you work, talk to your employer about any changes you need to make in your duties or schedule.

Food, Drink, and Medications

  • No matter which treatment you choose, you’ll have some limits on what you eat and drink. A dietitian will help you learn these.

  • Treatment means taking medications. Some of these you need to take one or more times a day. Others are given to you during treatment or visits with your healthcare provider. Have a list of the medications you take. Show it to any healthcare provider you visit. Also check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any medication, including aspirin, that is not on the list.

Making Healthy Choices

You can make choices about your lifestyle that will help your treatment work better. Exercise may reduce your treatment’s side effects, and can help you control your weight and blood pressure. Ask your healthcare team which types of exercise are good for you. If you smoke, it’s important that you quit. Smoking constricts blood vessels and causes infections, which are both dangerous to kidney failure patients. Talk to your healthcare team about quitting.

Looking After Your Health

With the right treatment, you should begin to feel better. If you follow all the guidelines you are given and still don’t feel well, tell your healthcare provider. Some changes may need to be made in your treatment. You will need regular checkups with your healthcare provider.

Things to Know

Circle the statements below that are true for you. For each statement you don’t circle, ask a healthcare provider to help you learn what you need to know.

  • I have a list of all the medications that I take.

  • I know which foods I should eat. I also know how much I should eat.

  • I have talked to a healthcare provider about exercise.

  • I have names and numbers for all my healthcare providers.

  • I know what my insurance covers and what it doesn’t.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
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