5 Important Lifestyle Changes to Make When Diagnosed With Chronic Kidney Disease

Nick Rosen, MD
Medically reviewed by Nick Rosen, MDDecember 28th, 2020
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While a chronic kidney disease (CKD) diagnosis can be difficult to digest, it may also provide you with much-needed answers and clarity. Certain symptoms that you’ve been experiencing now have a known cause, and you can start receiving treatments to alleviate your pain and discomfort. However, you may be wondering what this diagnosis means for your day-to-day life. Is there anything you need to do differently to accommodate this chronic condition? Many healthcare professionals recommend making these five lifestyle changes when diagnosed with chronic kidney disease:

Limit Salt in Your Diet

One of the first changes an individual diagnosed with chronic kidney disease should make is to their diet. In general, a healthier and more balanced diet can help improve your overall health and make you feel your best, which is important for anyone. For CKD, you should change your diet by reducing sodium intake. When your kidneys are not healthy, extra sodium and fluids can build up in your body, causing edema, swollen ankles, puffiness, a rise in blood pressure, shortness of breath, and/or fluid around your heart and lungs.

Eat Less Protein

Something else you should monitor in your diet is protein. When you consume protein, your body uses what it can and filters out the rest as waste—which the kidneys are in charge of removing. Eating more protein than you need may make your kidneys work harder, which should be avoided when you are suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Monitor Your Mineral Intake

You may also need to reduce your intake of minerals, including phosphorus and potassium. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, excess phosphorus can build up in your body. This build up can reduce the amount of calcium in your bones, weakening them and making them more likely to break. Potassium helps to regulate heart rate, but when the kidneys aren’t working properly, it can also build up in the body and increase the risk for an irregular heart rate (called an arrhythmia) or a heart attack.

Exercise & Achieve a Healthy Weight

You’ll also want to make lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure, because high blood pressure, or hypertension, can contribute to the progression of kidney failure. If necessary, your doctor may recommend losing a few pounds to be at a healthier weight, which can be achieved partly through exercise. Even if you’re at a healthy weight, light exercise can still help to lower your blood pressure and keep it under control. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day with low-impact activities like walking, yoga, biking, jogging, or anything else that your doctor approves beforehand.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, you’ll want to quit as quickly as possible. While this can be a difficult process for anyone, it’s crucial to the health of your kidneys. Smoking slows the blood flow to important organs like the kidneys and can make kidney disease worse.

Seek Additional Help From DispatchHealth

If you’re feeling overwhelmed after being diagnosed with CKD, know that you’re not alone. DispatchHealth is here to provide you with the support and treatment you need for your chronic kidney disease. As medical professionals that offer in-home services to our patients, we can provide you with the same quality of treatment you would receive in an emergency room without having to leave your house. Our knowledgeable team of medical personnel will give you the necessary care you need to remain as comfortable as possible while living with chronic kidney disease.


DispatchHealth knows that with the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, it’s more important than ever for people with underlying health conditions to limit exposure to people with the virus. You won’t have to worry about this with DispatchHealth in your home, because our team takes every precaution necessary to keep patients and staff safe. This includes wearing personal protection equipment and cleaning our cars thoroughly between visits.

Don’t hesitate to contact DispatchHealth for comprehensive, in-home care for your chronic kidney disease. Reach us through our website, mobile app, or by calling us.


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

Sources referenced in this article:

  1. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/sodiumckd
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/eating-nutrition
  3. https://nyulangone.org/conditions/kidney-disease-in-adults/treatments/lifestyle-changes-for-kidney-disease-in-adults
  4. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/smoking
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521
The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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