Living well with CKD and treatment means, first and foremost, staying engaged with life. Continuing or modifying your usual activities around the house or things you do for fun, and at work will help you to feel more like a person, and less like a patient or a disease. Dialysis will now be a central part of your routine, but it doesn’t need to exclude the rest of your normal activities. You can integrate them into everyday life, including exercise, work and travel. Your doctor and health care team will prescribe a diet suitable to this stage of CKD, one that pays close attention to the nutrients and minerals that can both help and harm your body. Understanding how to balance fluids is also part of this plan. A moderate amount of alcohol may be fine, but you must check with your doctor to be certain. An important part of sticking with this plan is having the support of your family and friends. Help your close community to understand how unwavering adherence to your dialysis routine is crucial to your life and well-being. If you choose to do treatment at home, make dialysis dates. Invite friends or family to keep you company for quiet activities like a regular card game, or movie afternoon. Your treatment does not need to be done in isolation, as long as you and your close circle are comfortable with the routine. Preparing kidney-friendly meals is a loving way to support yourself, and really, is a healthy and nutritious way for everyone to eat. You can learn more about the basics of a kidney-friendly diet later in this section, and in depth in the Choices section of this program. Your close circle can also help as you make big and important changes, like quitting smoking, or starting an exercise routine – enlist them in the cause of living well. Keep to your current exercise program, or start one now. Talk to your health care team, and set goals to gradually increase your routine to get to 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Exercise not only improves physical health, it has also been shown to reduce stress and improve one’s mood. Exercise with a buddy – research shows that having a partner, whether a friend or family member, makes it much more likely that you’ll keep at it.
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