Many people with a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease are able to work and certainly in the earlier stages of the disease, they may have few symptoms that affect their working life, although they may need time off to attend regular healthcare appointments.
People who have more advanced chronic kidney disease are still able to work, and may find that working helps their wellbeing and sense of identity. However, for those who are undertaking regular dialysis, continuing to work may present some challenges. For example, they may need to take time out of the working day to attend dialysis appointments, or to dialyse at home; or they may experience after-effects of dialysis that make it difficult to continue working or concentrate properly.
If you are unsure what your rights are as an employee with chronic kidney disease, the UK Government provide advice about what to do if you become disabled, and adjustments that employers must take to ensure you are not disadvantaged due to your condition.
Some people choose to leave their employment and focus on their health. Each person will find a solution that suits them, and there are chronic kidney disease support workers to help you with decisions such as this.
Kidney Research UK offer further advice about how dialysis may affect your employment.
Chronic kidney disease diet
It is important for all of us to eat a healthy diet and undertake regular exercise. This can help prevent or reduce our risk of some healthcare conditions developing in the first place. It is really important for someone with a chronic kidney disease diagnosis to live a healthy lifestyle and the first step in this is eating healthily.
The NHS provide information on eating a balanced diet. In addition, you may be given specific advice about reducing the levels of minerals and salts in your diet, such as potassium, phosphate and calcium. This is because your kidney dysfunction is likely to affect how your kidneys are managing the balance of these products in the body.
If you are undergoing dialysis, you will be given a strict chronic kidney disease diet to follow. The Kidney Dialysis Information Centre provides details about managing your diet if your kidneys have failed.
Some people choose to look at natural remedies and supplements for chronic kidney disease. We recommend talking to your doctor before taking any chronic kidney disease supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.
If you need information or advice about following a chronic kidney disease diet, speak to your GP or dietician.
If you need inspiration on how to change your cooking to reduce salts and about eating for chronic kidney disease, check out The Kidney Care Cookbook.
Chronic kidney disease exercise
Undertaking regular exercise is important if you have chronic kidney disease. Exercise helps the whole body function to its best ability, making it stronger and more resilient. If you are overweight, losing weight through exercise will help your body and reduce the strain on your kidneys. You may wish to discuss with your healthcare team how to start or improve your exercise regime, and a physiotherapist can help devise a programme of exercises for chronic kidney disease.
Even when experiencing kidney failure and undergoing dialysis, most people are able to undertake some form of exercise. Research suggests that exercising during dialysis actually helps the process work more effectively! Read more about this from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. Many dialysis centres have exercise equipment available for you to use, but you may wish to consider purchasing your own pedal exerciser.
For further advice about staying fit, and exercise for chronic kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Federation website.