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08/07/2009 09:12 PM

Good Health Checklist

Posts: 73

Being a transplant patient, and having read research published on kidney disease, I hope that I can stimulate discussion about the many concerns that people with kidney disease, on dialysis, or have had a transplant face daily that may not be addressed by their doctor/nephrologist.

We need to help ourselves. Start with the checklist below, which can be taken to the doctor to review overall well-being.

I read a Healthy New Year's checked list with suggestions made by a medical doctor who has been practicing in the areas of critical care, and kidney disease over the past 18 years. The doctor mentioned important items that we, as kidney patients, should pay extra attention to when talking with our doctor:

Good health checklist:

     Blood and urine lab work

     Medicine and supplement review

     Exercise review

     Nutrition review

     Dialysis modality review if you're on dialysis

     Emotional health review

     Check in with your feelings

     Stay active by working or volunteering

     Keep moving and doing things that interest you

Although diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, I would refrain from making it part of this post, since it has its own forum. However, anyone interested in its relation to kidney disease is welcome to do so.

Transplant check:

     If you've had a transplant, you should make sure that your doctor pays special attention to the status of your new kidney. When going in for follow-up checkups, carry the list of medicines you are taking.

     You should also tell your doctor how your home monitoring has been going. This monitoring should include regular, self-administered checks on weight, temperature and blood pressure. If you notice a dramatic weight gain, you could be retaining fluids. Temperature change can indicate infection. If there is a noticeable change in blood pressure, you should visit your doctor as soon as you can.

Medicine check:

     Review what medications you are taking, how you are feeling and how your body is responding to the medicines based on your lab results. Help your doctor determine if you're taking the right medicines, or if there are medicines you no longer need to take.

Activity level check:

     Talk to your doctor about what kind of physical activity will be good for you.

     If you are on dialysis, you should stay active. Exercise can provide a health benefit. Most people on dialysis can do some form of physical activity. A study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that people who exercise while on dialysis might have treatments that are more effective because exercise can reduce urea (a toxin that accumulates between dialysis sessions) by 20%. Physical activity can help you feel better, stronger and more in control of your health no matter when you do it.

Depression check:

     Doctors have pointed out that, “everybody is so busy dealing with the physical issues that they forget about the emotional strain,” that it's a good idea to take the time to check in with your feelings and emotions.

     Depression is an illness that should be treated by a professional in the same way you would treat diabetes or high blood pressure. The feelings of sadness and hopelessness associated with depression can take away from one's quality of life. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health.

Make every day the best it can be by taking caring of your physical and emotional needs. I hope you would use this checklist, engage your doctor in conversation about your health.

Questions that a patient should ask his or her doctor about but not aware of is: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) – It is considered by medical professionals to be the best measure of kidney function. Knowing someone's GFR lets the person figure out his or her stage of kidney disease. Doctors use this information to plan the patient's treatment.

Post edited by: Inspiration, at: 08/07/2009 09:17 PM


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