Heart disease is common in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is the leading cause of death for all people with CKD. The increased risk is related to kidney disease and other health problems, like diabetes and high blood pressure. It is very important for dialysis patients to follow steps to help prevent heart and blood vessel problems.
Here are some steps to lower the risk of heart disease:
Your willingness to adopt healthy lifestyle habits will determine your enjoyment of a good quality of life despite your current health issues.
Control Your Blood Glucose Levels
- Be sure to check your blood sugar levels according to the frequency suggested by your doctor.
- Follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan as well as including your medications, diet and exercise.
Adopt a Heart-healthy Diet
A healthier body starts with a healthier diet. Ask your doctor about the dos and don’ts of your diet although the following rules apply:
- Limit your intake of food high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as whole milk, cheese, eggs and fried foods.
- Eat more heart-healthy food particularly those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold water fish like tuna, and salmon, as well as canola oil, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as nuts and seeds, since these are good for your heart.
- Ask your doctor about changes to your diet when you are on either a protein or potassium modified diet. Keep in mind that even the smallest changes in your diet can have large effects on your health.
Control Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension increases the risks for heart attacks and strokes. Hence, controlling your blood pressure levels is a must. Ask your doctor about your target blood pressure as a dialysis patient. In general, it is less than 140/90 before the dialysis treatment and then less than 130/80 after the dialysis treatment. Keep a record of your blood pressure levels and then report to your doctor or nurse if you observe any untoward symptoms.
Be mindful of your fluid and salt intake since fluid build-up can be dangerous for your health. Be sure to take your anti-hypertensive medications, too, since these are essential in controlling your hypertension.
Increase Physical Activity Dialysis
Dialysis patients are well-advised to engage in appropriate physical activity to aid in controlling their blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Even brisk walking will suffice in lowering high cholesterol levels, improving cardiovascular fitness, and increasing energy levels.
Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Stop smoking if you are already a smoker. Then you must also stop drinking alcohol, sweetened drinks including soda, and other unhealthy beverages since these are also detrimental to your health.
Get sufficient hours of sleep. Manage your stress. Adopt a positive attitude in life despite your health issues. All of these are essential in helping your body cope with its various health problems. Importantly, maintain emotional well-being.
Heart healthy grocery lists:
Vegetable and fruits
- Be sure to buy and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
- When fresh foods aren’t available, choose frozen or canned vegetables and fruits in water without added sugars, saturated and trans fat, or salt.
- Buy more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of fiber, including beans, peas, oranges, bananas, strawberries and apples.
- Stock up on raw vegetables for snacks such as carrot and celery sticks, and cauliflower.
- Don’t buy lots of fruit juice. It doesn’t provide the fiber whole fruit does and it’s not as good at satisfying hunger.
- Select fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Avoid milk that contains added flavorings such as vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. They usually have added sugars and calories.
- Choose fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses.
- Use egg whites or egg substitutes instead of egg yolks. (Substitute two egg whites for each egg yolk in recipes that call for eggs.)
- Choose soft margarines that contain “0 grams trans fat” instead of buying butter.
- Don’t buy a lot of butter, cream and ice cream. Save those for special occasions and, even then, limit how much you eat. These foods have more saturated fat than whole milk.
Oils and seasoning
- Buy and use fats and oils in limited amounts.
- Stay away from palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter. Even though they are vegetable oils and have no cholesterol, they’re high in saturated fats.
- Buy a nonstick pan or use nonstick vegetable spray when cooking.
Meat, poultry and fish
- Buy and prepare more fish. You should eat one serving of grilled or baked fish at least twice a week.
- Choose lemon juice and spices to eat with fish. Don’t add cream sauces.
- Stay away from fried fish. It’s usually high in fat often trans fat.
- When buying or eating poultry, choose the leaner light meat (breasts) rather than the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs). Try the skinless version or remove the skin yourself.
- Select more meat substitutes such as dried beans, peas, lentils or tofu (soybean curd) and use them as entrees or in salads and soups. A one-cup serving of cooked beans, peas, lentils or tofu can replace a two-ounce serving of meat, poultry or fish.