Important Information about Kidney Disease for Family Caregivers

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Seniors are at high risk for kidney disease. To help your aging loved one prevent this condition, it’s important to shed some light on a health concern most seniors and caregivers don’t talk about.

What Is Kidney Disease?

The kidneys are the body’s filtration system. When a senior has kidney disease, the kidneys can no longer eliminate impurities and waste or balance fluids like excess water as efficiently as before. The kidney diseases that commonly affect seniors range from urinary tract infections to renovascular disease. Many of these conditions are closely linked to diabetes, which can reduce kidney function even when appropriately managed. 

Glomerulonephritis, a condition caused by injury to the blood-filtering part of the kidney, can lead to painful inflammation. Renovascular disease, on the other hand, is an arterial condition that deposits damaging substances in the lining of the arteries, thus reducing the amount of blood sent to the kidneys and leading to a sharp reduction in kidney function, and it’s one of the most common causes of senior kidney failure. Conditions such as urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence can lead to kidney damage if they go untreated. Seniors may also experience hereditary kidney conditions, such as polycystic kidney disease.

Risks

People who have diabetes are at an increased risk for kidney disease, as are seniors with high blood pressure. In fact, those are the two leading causes of kidney disease. Some seniors are predisposed to have a higher risk for kidney disease. Nonmodifiable risk factors include age—people are more likely to experience kidney failure after the age of 60—and genetics—a family history of kidney failure increases risk. Certain ethnic groups, such as people of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal descent, have a greater genetic predisposition for kidney conditions. 

Symptoms

Although kidney disease doesn’t produce any symptoms in its earliest stage, symptoms associated with a decrease in kidney performance may manifest. Caregivers should watch out for signs of lethargy, confusion, itchy skin, insomnia, a drop in weight, chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, upset stomach, or a change in urination.

An experienced, highly trained professional caregiver may be able to identify symptoms of kidney disease earlier than you or your loved one can. Though you may be researching multiple agencies that provide senior home care, El Dorado County, CA, Home Care Assistance has much to offer your family and your elderly loved one. We are leaders in the senior home care industry, offering proprietary programs like our holistic Balanced Care Method and around-the-clock assistance from reliable, experienced caregivers. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your loved one enjoy a happier and healthier life in the golden years.

Prevention

A healthy diet and regular exercise, which can prevent diabetes and high blood pressure, are the best defenses against kidney disease. Also, periodic blood and urine tests at the physician’s office can detect abnormalities in glucose and protein levels.

Seniors with mobility limitations or health conditions may find it difficult to prepare nutritious meals or exercise on their own. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. El Dorado County seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Treatment

In the early stages of kidney disease, changes to lifestyle and diet can help, including limiting salt and quitting smoking. Certain blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors and ARBs, can slow the advancement of kidney disease. Kidney failure resulting from kidney disease may be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant. For seniors who are 75 years of age or older and experiencing a number of health issues, dialysis may not help.

Kidney disease is one of many conditions seniors need to be aware of so they can make lifestyle choices that promote optimal health. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (916) 358-3801 today.

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