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When to Seek Medical Care

Several signs and symptoms may suggest complications of chronic kidney disease. Call your healthcare provider if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in energy level or strength
  • Increased water retention (puffiness or swelling) in the legs, around the eyes or in other parts of the body
  • Shortness of breath or change from normal breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light-headedness
  • Severe bone or joint pain
  • Easy bruisability

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure , or kidney problems, see your healthcare provider right away if you know or suspect that you are pregnant .

See your health care provider as recommended for monitoring and treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes , high blood pressure , and high cholesterol.

Some signs and symptoms represent the possibility of a severe complication of chronic kidney disease and warrant a visit to the nearest hospital emergency department.


Change in level of consciousness - extreme sleepiness or difficult to awaken

Self-Care at Home

Chronic kidney disease is a disease that must be managed in close consultation with your healthcare provider. Self-treatment is not appropriate.

There are, however, several important dietary rules you can follow to help slow the progression of your kidney disease and decrease the likelihood of complications.

This is a complex process and must be individualized, generally with the help of your healthcare provider and a registered dietitian.

The following are general dietary guidelines:

Protein restriction: Decreasing protein intake may slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. A dietitian can help you determine the appropriate amount of protein for you.

Salt restriction: Limit to 4-6 grams a day to avoid fluid retention and help control high blood pressure.

Fluid intake: Excessive water intake does not help prevent kidney disease. In fact, your doctor may recommend restriction of water intake.

Potassium restriction: This is necessary in advanced kidney disease because the kidneys are unable to remove potassium. High levels of potassium can cause abnormal heart rhythms. Examples of foods high in potassium include bananas, oranges, nuts, and potatoes.

Phosphorus restriction: Decreasing phosphorus intake is recommended to protect bones. Eggs, beans, cola drinks, and dairy products are examples of foods high in phosphorus.

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