Sunblock, towels, water, and sunglasses are some of the things to remember to bring along during summertime outings.
If you have kidney disease, keeping yourself safe involves a little more.
Your kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from your blood. Kidney disease compromises your ability to perform those essential functions. If you have kidney disease, here are a few tips to keep the fun going this summer while taking care of your kidneys.
Go outside and get moving
Sunny summer days are ideal for going outside and exercising. If you have chronic kidney disease, be sure to check with your nephrologist before starting an exercise routine. Your physician can help you create an exercise plan that will support your health.
Even if you feel tired at times, easy exercises may help you feel better. Activities like walking, swimming, and yoga could put minimal stress on the body.
Balance your fluid intake
Heat illness and dehydration are genuine dangers to everyone. It is hard for Dialysis patients to maintain their fluid restrictions during the warm months of summer. Although patients do not want to become dehydrated, they also do not want to experience fluid overload, short term and long-term health complications.
Check with your health care team for guidance about your fluid intake and whether you need to adjust your fluid intake on days that you spend more time outdoors. Be careful of icy beverages, which can cause stomach cramps.
Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol or ingesting large amounts of sugar, as these can cause your body to lose more fluid. Stay cool by wearing a hat or a wet bandana around your neck to help control your thirst. Consider carrying a small spray bottle filled with lemon water or mouthwash to spray your mouth when you feel dry.
Protect your access if you go swimming
If you are on dialysis, check with your nephrologist for tips on how to protect your access when you go swimming. If you have vascular access, your nephrologist usually would recommend that you cover the vascular access with a protective dressing when you swim.
For people on peritoneal dialysis (PD), your health care team will show you how to clamp your PD catheter shut adequately. You should immobilize the PD catheter to avoid tension in the area while swimming. It would be best if you changed the dressing as soon as you finish swimming.
When going for a swim, do so in the ocean or a chlorinated pool. Avoid bodies of water that aren't chlorinated, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers, which have a greater chance of hosting bacteria that can infect your access.
Eat healthy summer foods
Research shows that fruits and vegetables are essential for good health, yet most people don't eat enough. Summer is the perfect time to fill your plate with kidney-friendly foods low in phosphorus and potassium.
Remember to practice portion control as all fruits and vegetables contain some potassium. Here is a list of kidney-friendly fruits and vegetables that can add color and flavor to your diet:
Watermelon (1cup per day)
Peppers (Sweet and bell)
Use these summertime ingredients to make delicious smoothies found at our Kidney-Friendly smoothies Recipe book.
Summer often brings sunny skies, warm weather, and good times for many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients. Time to enjoy to the fullest and take care of your kidneys.
Florida Kidney Physicians wishes you a safe and happy summertime!!!