- Learn all you can about kidney disease and especially your own condition. Work with your care team to find out how the information applies to you. Do what works best for you-whether it’s talking to other people and asking questions, reading, attendingkidney education classes, or listening to tapes and videos.
- Know that you can do this! Think of CKD as a challenge to be met head on. There are people and resources to help you become a partner in your care to help you live long and well with CKD.
- Learn about your medications, their proper dosages, names, and the purpose of each one. In some cases, medications, such as certain classes of blood pressure pills, can slow the progress of kidney disease. Ask your doctor what can be done for you.
- Track your lab test values over time and learn what they mean. While your healthcare team knows a lot about kidney disease, you are the expert on you.
- Take charge and take action. If you don’t understand something, or if something seems wrong, speak up! Talk with your doctor. Ask questions. Find out what you can do to improve your health.
- Find out the symptoms of CKD and report your symptoms to your doctor. Some problems, like fatigue, can be treated, so you have more energy and can feel your best.
- Work with your healthcare team to determine good kidney-friendly dietary guidelines. Follow them as closely as possible and see how your diet affects your lab test values.
- Stay employed. Even if you have to take some time off work to adjust to a new situation, try to work part-time or full-time. Keeping a job is a good way to stay active, plus your employee healthinsurance coverage will help pay for medical expenses that may arise. Learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act and your right to keep your job if you should ever need to go on dialysis.
- Do some research and planning for medical insurance and other financial considerations. Resources such as medical social workers, kidney patient organizations, Medicare and your state insurance bureau can help. Don’t panic. Many resources are available to help you figure out how to manage financially or to provide help if you need it.