Healthy Lifestyle Resources for Heart and Kidney Disease
by Rachel Lane PhD, RD,
February 5, 2019
Whether you’re wanting to prevent disease onset or halt its progression, healthy lifestyle decisions are central to success. Many of the risk factors for heart and kidney disease - including obesity, high blood pressure (also called “hypertension), and poor blood glucose control - are mediated by lifestyle factors, such as diet, physical activity, smoking habits, and medication regimens. These factors play important roles in healthy living, disease management, and risk factor minimization.
Today, voices on the internet, television, and radio spout their opinion on what a “healthy” lifestyle looks like, clouding the horizon between disease prevention and vanity. At Everbloom Health, we support your success by making it easier to cut through the noise and live better. We’ve listed a few of the most respected resources on disease-specific dietary modifications, physical activity recommendations, and smoking cessation assistance below. Hopefully, these tools will make your health journey just a tad bit easier.
Targeted dietary modifications may promote weight loss, reduce high blood pressure levels, improve glucose control and manage heart and kidney disease progression. Always consult a physician before making major lifestyle alterations.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease. Weight loss can prevent the onset or improve the prognosis of these conditions. Review the Mayo Clinic, NIH, and CDC websites for information on dietary modifications for weight loss.
Diabetes contributes to the development of kidney and heart disease. Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels (sometimes called “blood sugar”) may prevent additional damage to organs. The NIH, Mayo Clinic, and American Diabetes Association offer key resources that explain how diet affects blood glucose control. Well maintained blood glucose levels may prevent nerve and organ damage that can trigger additional diseases.
Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” because it does not have any obvious signs or symptoms. It can cause irreversible damage to the body before it is even diagnosed. The NIH, Mayo Clinic, and American Heart Association offer suggestions for preventing and controlling high blood pressure levels.
When kidney function is compromised, you may be asked to limit your intake of protein, sodium, and other nutrients, such as phosphorous. The National Kidney Foundation and NIH offer evidenced-based resources for a healthy, kidney-conscious diet.
Diets focused on preventing the onset or progression of heart disease encourage healthy fats, low salt, whole grains, and ample fruits and vegetables. Mayo Clinic and The American Heart Association are reliable sources for the latest information on heart-healthy diets.
Healthy physical activity strengthens the heart, encourages weight maintenance/loss, and prevents hypertension. Different pre-existing conditions may limit the type or amount of physical activity that is appropriate for you. Several agencies provide guidelines on physical activity for weight loss (here, here, and here), high blood pressure (here and here), and diabetes (here and here).
Although it’s the leading cause of preventable death in the US, smoking can be difficult to give up, especially during times of change. Those struggling to kick the habit can access many free resources, including apps and social media support.
Medication may be required to manage disease. Some medications require additional restrictions (e.g., dietary) or specific instructions (e.g., frequency). Don’t hesitate to ask your physician or healthcare provider to clarify any ambiguous instructions.
Putting It All Together
Diet, physical activity, smoking habits, and medication regimens influence disease onset and progression. If you’re wanting to live a better life, review the resources above for opportunities to strategically invest in the promise of tomorrow. Once you’ve identified a few changes to implement, check out our post on living with heart and kidney disease to learn how to stick by your goals.