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5 Risk Factors for Kidney Disease

Kidneys have an important job, which is making sure waste and extra water is filtered out of the blood. If your elderly loved one’s kidney health is not properly maintained, these organs can fail, resulting in the need for a transplant or dialysis. There are many risk factors for kidney disease, and the Bridgewater at-home care experts at Home Care Assistance have put together a list of some to watch for.

1. Diabetes

Approximately 44 percent of people with kidney failure who are undergoing regular dialysis have kidney disease because of diabetes. When blood sugar levels are too high, the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged. Over time, this damage results in the kidneys having difficulty filtering the blood. If your loved one has diabetes, encourage him or her to keep blood sugar levels under control with diet, exercise, and medication. Yearly blood and urine tests can find kidney disease in its beginning stages of the disease, and early treatment can help the kidneys continue to function.

2. Not Drinking Enough Water

Many seniors become dehydrated after experiencing prolonged illnesses. When the kidneys don’t have enough fluid, they can become damaged or fail. If your loved one is sick, make sure he or she is getting enough water. If you suspect dehydration, your loved one may need to be admitted to a hospital to receive fluids intravenously.

3. High Blood Pressure

When blood pressure is too high, it can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, which reduces their ability to work properly. Many people with high blood pressure aren’t aware they have the disease, so it’s important for your loved one to get regular checkups. If your loved one has high blood pressure, encouraging him or her to take medications, eat a low-salt diet, and exercise regularly can help reduce the blood pressure levels.

4. Eating a Diet High in Sodium

Sodium causes the body to retain water, putting more pressure on the kidneys and heart to remove the excess fluids. Continually eating foods high in sodium, such as chips, beef jerky, and table salt, can damage the kidneys over time. Instead of salt, show your loved one how to season food with spices or herbs to add plenty of flavor to his or her meals.

5. Heart Disease

Congestive heart failure is responsible for 25 percent of kidney disease each year. When the heart is unable to adequately pump blood throughout the body, the kidneys don’t receive proper flow and become damaged over time. Following a cardiologist’s dietary and medication recommendations can help control congestive heart failure and keep your loved one’s kidneys healthy.

Learn more about safeguarding your loved one against kidney disease by contacting Home Care Assistance. Our experienced caregivers can make sure your loved one eats healthy, gets regular exercise, and takes his or her medications on time. We also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care Bridgewater families trust. For more information on our in-home care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers today at 908.450.9400.