Get tested It turns out that heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and kidney disease is a known risk factor for heart disease. Hence, if you know you have one, you should have yourself tested for the other.
Eat a balanced, kidney and heart healthy diet Reduce sodium in your diet. Be sure to stay away from processed foods and choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Reduce foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol like eggs, whole milk, cheese and fried foods. Eat more foods that are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These include cold water fish like salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout and sardines, and other foods like flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts.
Increase physical activity Physical activity offers many health benefits, including decreasing blood pressure, increasing muscle strength, lowering blood fat levels (cholesterol and triglycerides), improving sleep, increasing insulin sensitivity and helping control body weight. And it’ll make you feel good!
Reduce high cholesterol levels High blood levels of fats like cholesterol increase your chance of developing heart and blood vessel problems. Simple blood tests can check for total cholesterol and other fats in your blood. If your levels are too high, you may need to follow a low-fat diet and exercise more. Some patients may also need to take pills (such as a Statin) to help lower cholesterol.
Keep high blood pressure under control Follow your treatment plan carefully to control high blood pressure. The blood pressure pills usually preferred for people with kidney disease are called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). They help to protect your heart. Be sure to follow your fluid and sodium (salt) limits to keep fluid from building up in your body and increasing your blood pressure. Ask your health care team about other steps to help prevent fluid buildup.
If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar well controlled Over time, having high blood sugar can cause damage to your eyes, nerves, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Good control of blood sugar and other self-management actions can help slow or stop this damage from happening.
Quit smoking The strongest modifiable risk factor for both kidney and heart disease is smoking. There is nothing that is more important in the prevention of both heart and kidney disease as stopping smoking. Smoking causes hardening of the arteries which causes both coronary artery disease and nephrosclerosis, or hardening of the kidney due to disease of the blood vessels in it. Smoking is also a risk factor for high blood pressure which can cause both heart and kidney disease.