Nutrition and Life Style Related to CKD


The diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) can be overwhelming and confusing.  We recognize this is a complicated and life changing diagnosis.

The team at San Antonio Kidney wants to provide you the support to navigate your way through this process.

We have some easy ways to get the help and information you need.

  • You are invited to attend our free “Caring for Your Kidneys” basic class. In this class we discuss kidney health, nutrition, relevant lab tests, and provide tips to help preserve kidney function. this is a great introduction to CKD we will rev It is taught all over San Antonio and surrounding areas, we also offer this class in the comfort of your own home via live interactive class on line with one of our nurse educators.
  • We also have a modality options class available for those with more advanced stages of CKD, these are done via visiting one on one,  with you and your family at SA Kidney location.  They can also be done via the comfort of your own home via live interactive class on line with one of the nurse educators.
  • Your nephrologists may request you can have a Renal/Kidney Dietitian schedule an appointment with you to review your individual nutrition needs related to your kidney health.  This is usually initiated after you have attended at the basic class.  These can be completed at your Nephrologist’s office.

Self-register for the FREE class by selecting the class location and date below or by calling: 210-798-6812

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About Nutrition and Education

Along with eating a kidney friendly diet, it is important to optimize your kidney function by not using tobacco products, increase your activity level and avoiding medications and substances that can have a negative effect on your kidneys “Kidney Enemies”.

Life Style Tips:

Abstain from Tobacco Products (including vaping)

Besides the many adverse effects smoking can have on your body, your kidney function can also be affected. There are many studies available to prove the connection between smoking and CKD.

Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate, reduces blood flow in the kidneys, increases production of angiotensin II (a hormone produced in kidney), narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys, damages arterioles (branches of arteries), forms arteriosclerosis (thickening and hardening) of the renal arteries, accelerates loss of kidney function.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of CKD. Studies have found that people with diabetes and/or high blood pressure who smoke add to the risk of getting CKD. When you stop smoking it has been shown to help a person maintain kidney function.

For people who have had a kidney transplant and smoke, increase their chances for cardiovascular problems and cancer. The best way to a successful transplant outcome is to stop smoking.

Quitting is difficult due to nicotine addiction, cravings and temptations, there are steps to help you succeed and sometimes it takes a few tries to stop smoking completely, but it’s worth the effort to become smoke free.

Talk to your doctor about nicotine-replacement therapies like gums and patches, as well as medications that may help you quit.

Physical Activity

Physical inactivity is associated with increased complications in CKD. Benefits associated with increasing your activity level may include; improved energy, assists with blood pressure control, lowers level of blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides), improves sleep patterns, better control of body weight and assists with blood sugar management.

Keeping a healthy body weight and BMI can help diabetes, hypertension and therefore help slow progression of CKD.

Always ask your doctor before beginning an exercise program, ask which types of exercise are appropriate, and length of time you spend exercising (the American Heart Association recommends 150 min/week) and always work up gradually to the goal set. Consistency is the key, try to work it into your daily routine and choose something you enjoy to set yourself up for success.

Kidney Enemies

Kidney injury can occur following a kidney infection, dehydration, use of medications to include certain antibiotics, and the use over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen these are also known as, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Herbal supplements, and vitamins can also cause damage. Always report any over the counter (OTC) medications, herbs or vitamins you may be taking to your doctors, and check with your doctors before starting new ones.

Dyes that are used to make the blood vessels or organs visible on X-rays or other imaging tests can also cause kidney damage.

There are some basic dietary changes that may be helpful for you but you should always check with your nephrologist before you make any changes to your diet.

Sodium or Salt

Sodium/Salt is always a topic of concern with CKD, as it can directly affects your blood pressure and keeping your blood pressure in a normal range does help slow the progression of CKD.

The average American is thought to consume somewhere between 3300-5000mg of sodium/day, the actual amount most of us should have is 1500-2000mg/day.

Hints for reducing sodium/salt in your diet:

  • One fourth (¼) teaspoon of table salt contains about 590mg of sodium
  • One fourth (¼) teaspoon of sea salt contains about 450mg of sodium
  • Not adding salt is a good way for reducing sodium in your diet.

Try to use herbs and spices such as Mrs. Dash, instead of the salt shaker, it is import to avoid salt substitutes too, as they contain large amounts of potassium.

Processed and convenience foods generally have an abundance of salt or sodium, try cooking ahead and freezing healthy meals for quick meals instead of using the processed frozen meals.


Potassium is another mineral that is required in your body, it helps with muscle function. In CKD sometimes the potassium can become too high in your blood. It is important to monitor your potassium level and your doctor will put you on a restriction of potassium in your diet and/or give you medications to help control your potassium only if it is too high.

Low potassium can also be a problem, so do not make any changes unless you are instructed to do so. It is important to know what your potassium level is. Check with your nephrologist to see if you need to be on any type of potassium modified diet before you make any changes.


Diabetes is when your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. Insulin controls how much sugar is in your blood. A high level of sugar in your blood can cause problems for the vessels in your body and especially the kidneys. Over time diabetes can lead to kidney disease and kidney failure. Diabetes also causes damage to other large and small vessels throughout your body which can cause heart disease, circulation issues in the extremities, nerve problems and blindness.

One way to slow the progression of kidney disease is to manage your diabetes and keep your blood sugar under control. Learn all you can about your diabetes, take your diabetic mediation and follow your diabetic diet to prevent complications from diabetes. Ask your PCP or your endocrinologist to refer you for diabetic education.

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