Happy Self Care Saturday! I am trying to stream line topics so they are more direct to certain topics. I will continue with some of the fun ones too. Since April is all about Stress I decided to do some posts on how Stress affects certain parts of the body. Some of this is pretty complicated so I will share some more complicated article links, and articles that are easier to read. I tried to locate a Youtube video but none of them were exactly what I wanted. If you follow this blog, or read it enough, then you know I have CKD and I focus a lot of attention to bring awareness to the issue. So, of course I will start with how Stress effects the kidneys.
Remember that Stress is a feeling of tension and is also a response to various stressors. All body parts can have their own specific reactions to acute and chronic stress. Chronic Stress is the type that can cause harm to the body in various ways. For CKD, Chronic Stress can be a risk factor for getting Kidney Disease, but also Kidney Disease can be a risk factor for Chronic Stress. One of the most common way that stress can harm the kidneys is by increasing blood pressure, and heart rate. Likewise, already having CKD can cause blood pressure to rise which also can stress the body. Also a poor diet consisting of too much salt, fat, sugar, high protein intake, or too little nutrition causing Anemia and malnutrition can also cause stress that can damage the kidneys or worsen already existing kidney disease. When the heart rate and blood pressure rise this puts a heavier work load on the kidneys adding workload stress. This type of stress can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, or the filtering system. This can cause a progression in existing kidney disease or can be a cause of newly diagnosed kidney disease. Increasing blood pressure in the kidneys can also cause more sugar and fat in the bloodstream of the body which can worsen heart disease or Diabetes.
Stress is a complicated topic with all people having varying ways of coping, avoiding, or dealing with stress. What stresses one person out may not effect another. This makes it complicated to study stress in studies.
According the NKF there are 10 ways to help your kidneys and reduce stress:
- Eat healthier foods. I had mentioned this in a previous post. When we are stressed we may find comfort in food especially foods high in salt, fat, and sugars. My particular weakness is potato chips. Potato chips are extremely unhealthy for anyone, but especially for CKD, Diabetes, HTN, or Heart Disease. Eating a healthier diet and trying not to snack at all is the best option for keeping your kidneys healthy. If you have Diabetes you may need to snack. Not to mention all of the phosphorus additives used in packaged foods to keep them fresh. These can be very dangerous for CKD. Be sure to try and pick healthier snack options if you must snack. Avoiding take out, fast food, processed foods, pre made meals, etc. are all ways to eat healthier. When your body is not consuming good quality Nutrition it may be in a chronic state of stress.
- Limit salt and caffeine. Caffeine will increase your heart rate and too much salt will increase your blood pressure and cause water retention. This obviously will put more stress on your kidneys causing them to have to work much harder.
- Make me time. Relax, have fun, do something for yourself. Make sure you don’t let your job kill you. I tell my coworkers all the time any job will let you kill yourself with overtime and demands if you let them. Learning to say no, or I need a break is not a bad thing. Learning to not feel guilty because you need to de-stress should never be a bad thing. Take up a hobby is also a great way to ensure you are getting me time.
- Exercise at least 3 days a week. If you have a job where you are on your feet a lot, this is not exercise. Exercise is planned and something you do intentionally outside of work to improve your well-being. It can be something as simple as a walk in nature which can also add to your me time.
- Limit fat and sugar in your diet. This goes along with the other items I stated above. Higher amounts of fats and sugars in your body will lead to more stress on your body and the responses that come with it.
- Be positive! This one can be very hard if every day seems like a struggle or you are just slogging through your day. Try to always find something good in your day, find one thing you can be positive about every day, learn positive affirmations, start a journal, meditate, practice mindfulness and so many others to try.
- Talk it out! Don’t keep your feelings inside talk them out. You can hire a Health Coach, have a trusted friend, a pet, yourself, a journal, or whatever means you have to talk out your feelings and frustrations. Paint your feelings, or drawing them is another great way to relieve stress. Keeping your feelings bottled up is just another way to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and leading to increased stress on the kidneys.
- Sleep. Do you get enough sleep? You will be amazed at how fixing sleep issues can bring stress levels down. Ask me about my Guided Imagery or Distance Reiki sessions for better sleep.
- Set goals that are attainable. For example stating I never want to eat salt again is not a reasonable goal and probably will not be attainable. For one the human body needs some salt to function properly. Cutting out all salt could do more damage than good. However, setting a goal such as I want to learn to consume a 2 gram per day sodium diet is definitely attainable and reasonable. A Health Coach can help you.
- Listen to music. It doesn’t matter what kind of music as long as you enjoy it and it relaxes you. For bottled up tensions some good high energy music and singing at the top of your lungs can be great therapy. I love it!
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