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Kidney Disease Series - 1-When you find out you have kidney disease

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by Duncan Capicchiano, N.D.


Being told that you have kidney disease may come as a complete shock, especially if you have not been experiencing any symptoms. But the reality is that you can have fairly advanced kidney damage before you actually start to display any physical evidence of this. The only way to truly know is by being tested. So when your doctor gives you the scary news that your kidney function is compromised, it is natural to have an emotional response.

Unfortunately a lot of the time your doctor may only give you pharmaceutical treatment to try to manage the problem physically, and then send you on your way. But you may not be offered a lot as far as emotional support goes. So let’s take a look at some important steps in both understanding the process of what is happening to your body, and also some ways to cope with this on a daily basis, for the long term.

Stress, Mind, and Emotions

The stress and shock of finding out that you are ill can be a big burden on your body, so implementing many different stress management techniques is most important. This is because stress can and will contribute to your kidney condition if not controlled. Being mentally prepared is the first and most important step in taking control of your health.

If you have not experienced natural medicines before, you may be pleased to learn that the world of natural therapies has a lot to offer in regard to stress reduction. In fact there are so many options, that what works best really depends upon your personality and lifestyle. You could explore using remedies such as herbs, nutritional supplements or flower essences as part of your daily routine. Or perhaps relaxation exercises such as meditation or yoga would suit you better. 

These are so popular in our stressed out society that there is bound to be a class near you! Of course the importance of exercise should never be underestimated. It is fantastic both for your general health and energy, but also has amazing stress reducing powers.  A combination of natural remedies, exercise and relaxation activities is usually the best approach, you must use them regularly, and once these positive techniques have become part of your daily routine you will be sure to feel the benefits.

Note: It is said that if exercise were a drug, or I should say that if the healing benefits could be placed in to a pill, then the drug would be worth $100,000 for a year's supply. This same notion also extends to other lifestyle choices; particularly stress management and adequate sleep. Good news is we can have it all for FREE!

It is perfectly natural to go through a range of emotions when you find out that you are ill. You may experience guilt if your kidney condition is caused by poor dietary or lifestyle choices. But it is important to realise that it is never too late to change your ways. If caught early enough, making changes and using natural therapies along with dietary and lifestyle changes can totally reverse kidney damage. Or in cases of advanced kidney damage, natural therapies can still drastically improve your symptoms and quality of life, while slowing the progression of kidney damage.  

You may experience anger upon hearing the news that you have kidney damage. For you may have had a reaction to prescribed drugs, or damage caused by workplace or environmental toxins. It can be natural to feel like a victim in this situation. However I am here to ruffle a few feathers by saying the quicker you can move past these 'feelings', let go of the 'wrong doings', and in to a mindset of health, the quicker and easier your healing will be. Only by taking full responsibility of your kidney disease, no matter what the cause, will propel you from the illness in to health.

*Responsibility = power to change/heal
*Victim = helplessness and despair

Again it is important to realise that the damage can be fixed if you take control of your health. If these emotions are clouding your ability to heal it would be worth finding someone to talk to about this, and usually a professional is the best option as they can offer some productive coping strategies and motivation for change. True healing can only begin when you can deal with your situation mentally and emotionally, because as previously discussed the stress that is placed on your body has great powers to exacerbate your condition.

Knowledge Is P.O.W.E.R.

It is here that you will discover that knowledge is power. There are many sources of information around, but as with any topic you need to be careful as there is also questionable information out there. Once you start talking you may find that a lot of people will also have advice for you. The advice probably comes with good intentions but please be wary of any crazy sounding 'miracle' cures. We can assure you there is no such thing!

It is essential to find out the facts about kidney disease as soon as possible. The National Kidney Foundation is a great place to start as it will give you an understanding of what is happening to your body and explains the major causes of chronic kidney disease ( Please search their database for informative facts and excellent articles.

For those of you reading who suspect kidney damage, the old saying 'prevention is better than cure' really rings true when in comes to kidney damage. Therefore it would be a good idea to speak to your GP to undertake testing if you or your family members have a personal or family history of any of the main illnesses that are linked to kidney disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Diet & LifeStyle

Making positive and permanent changes to your diet and lifestyle is always important, but never more so than when you are diagnosed with a chronic condition such as kidney disease. More often than not, poor choices in the past have contributed in some way to your condition, so it stands to reason that making some changes will be beneficial for your kidney health.  

As mentioned previously it is essential to exercise, but the most appropriate forms will depend upon your level of health and kidney function. It is best to speak to your doctor or specialist about the forms of activity that would be the safest and most appropriate for you. But the key here is to maintain variety and have fun. If you are not interested or enjoying yourself, you are not likely to keep up good habits for long. FUN is the key.

The best diet for kidney health is very detailed and also varies slightly according to the level of kidney damage that you have developed. There are certain foods that are normally considered healthy, but when it comes to kidney damage these can actually be considered dangerous. For this reason it is important to get all the details for the most appropriate diet for you, and have a PLAN!==>

It can take time to develop great dietary habits, so sometimes making a few small changes at a time might be less overwhelming. The best place to start is getting rid of the obvious bad guys - alcohol, sugar, fatty and salty foods, caffeine, soft drinks and processed/ packaged products. At the same time you need to increase and focus on fresh and vital foods.

The ideal diet is a little more complicated than this (and we will go further in to this is future lessons), but as a basic rule if it is natural and has not been processed it is much more likely to be healthier for you. You will wonder why you didn't make these simple changes earlier as not just your kidneys but your whole body will thank you for it!

*Tip: Alcohol in many respects is the number one enemy to the kidneys for a dietary point of view. There are many reports that just simply avoiding alcohol can help improve kidney function.

In fact, adopting the correct dietary plan is so important that it is not only about preventing any further kidney damage, but there are specific nutrients that are essential to provide the support for your kidneys to heal. Often, due to many factors, our modern diet cannot provide the quantities that are necessary for healing to take place, therefore it is very important to supplement.

*Factors that deplete our bodies of essential nutrients: alcohol, coffee, medications, stress, heavy metals, environmental factors
*Why our modern diets are severely depleted in essential nutrients: over farming of land, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, heavy metals, highly processed foods.

So as you can see, although finding out that you have kidney damage can come as a shock, there is a lot of information and support available to you, and you are certainly not alone. Despite what your doctor may have told you, a lot can be done to improve and even reverse your kidney damage once you have formulated a personal plan.

With the use of natural therapies the kidney function decline that your doctor has told you to expect does not have to be your destiny. You may want to take a look at this link for some personal stories of kidney health improvement that you will surely find inspiring:

With all of the options out there, and armed with your newfound knowledge, it is very possible that you will soon be amongst the success stories. 

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