PRINE Health

Kidney Specialist in Great Neck

Benefits Of Visiting A Nutritionist For CKD

The kidneys are responsible for filtering extra water and waste out of the blood to make urine. They also make hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and maintain strength in your bones! When your kidneys are damaged and cannot properly filter blood, this is referred to as chronic kidney disease (CKD). The damage causes waste to fill up the body, along with many other health problems. Over 30 million people have chronic kidney disease in the United States. Here at PRINE Health, our kidney specialists in Great Neck specialize in conditions such as CKD. 

Diet and Chronic Kidney Disease

Maintaining a healthy diet should always be a top priority. Your diet has a major impact on your body and how it functions. When it comes to CKD, you have to be cautious of what you can and cannot eat because some foods that are typically part of your daily diet may have a negative impact when it comes to CKD. Three major components can slow down the progression of your chronic kidney disease:

  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure- this can be done by decreasing your daily sodium intake
  • Reducing the amount of protein you consume, depending on how much you usually consume
  • Monitoring and taking care of your diabetes

It can be hard to analyze the nutritional value of different foods and the science behind it all to ensure you are on the right track to a proper CKD diet. Visiting a nutritionist can be beneficial in making sure you are getting all of the nutrients that will keep your kidneys healthy. 

What to eat

After visiting your kidney specialist in Great Neck, you may want to start figuring out which foods will keep your kidneys healthy! Some of those foods include:

  • Cabbage
  • Red bell peppers
  • Garlic
  • Arugula
  • Berries
  • Olive oil
  • Egg whites

What not to eat

What you can and cannot eat depends on which stage of kidney disease you are on. In the earlier stages, you may have different dietary restrictions than someone who has end-stage renal disease. Earlier stages may require a lower protein intake, whereas those with end-stage renal disease need an increased protein intake. Foods that should be avoided when on a renal diet are:

  • Avocados
  • Canned food
  • Alcohol
  • Red Meat
  • Bananas
  • Dairy
  • Egg yolks

Overall, it is important to reduce your potassium, phosphorus, and sodium intake. If you are unsure of what foods will have a major impact on your stage of CKD, ask your kidney specialist in Great Neck. 

Why visit a nutritionist?

Nutritionists, along with your kidney specialist in Great Neck, can help keep your kidneys healthy and slow down the progression of your CKD. In general, there are many benefits to seeing a nutritionist, such as:

  • Getting a personalized plan
  • Preventing diseases
  • Learning to live a healthier lifestyle
  • Learning new recipes and skills
  • Receiving constant motivation and support

When it comes to eating, it can be difficult to find the support you need other than from your kidney specialist in Great Neck. A nutritionist not only provides more support, but they also can improve your diet without you having to do all that research on what will work best for you and your kidneys. Even after all that research, it can be difficult to find new and exciting recipes to make eating seem less tedious. Sure, you found out that red bell peppers are good for your CKD, but how many recipes can you make with that? Your nutritionist will think for you, all you have to do is cook it!

Figuring out a diet for your chronic kidney disease can be overwhelming. While visiting your kidney specialist in Great Neck at PRINE Health, ask them about the benefits of visiting a nutritionist to increase the quality of your life and diet. 

3 Warning Signs That You May Be Experiencing Kidney Failure

Your kidneys are vital to your health. It is crucial that you watch for early warning signs of issues or problems you may be experiencing that could lead to kidney failure.

What do the kidneys do in the body?

The primary function of your kidneys is to filter out the toxins built up in your body. If your kidneys begin to cease to function properly, it can lead to a plethora of health problems. It can ultimately lead to the need for dialysis.

Kidney function is measured by how well the kidneys remove toxins from the blood by using a measurement called the Glomerular Filtration Rate, or GFR. There are five stages of kidney functioning. Stage 1 denotes normal or high-functioning kidneys, whereas stage 5 is end-stage renal (kidney) failure. Each subsequent stage from 2 through 4 indicates a percentage of the decline in GFR.

It is important to know that the initial decline of kidney functions, or renal disease, is often silent. The best way to prevent kidney injury is to moderate changes in your overall health and always consult with a doctor if anything seems out of the norm.

Here are three signs that could indicate that you are beginning to experience a decline in kidney function.

1. Dizziness and Fatigue
One of the first possible signs of weakening kidneys is the experience of overall weakness in yourself and your overall health. This can include feelings of dizziness or fatigue due to a build-up of toxins in the blood. Oddly enough, another fatiguing disorder, anemia, can be linked to kidney problems. If you find that you are unusually tired, don’t panic. This can also be caused by stress, overwork, or other typical day-to-day issues. But if you are getting enough rest and still feel more fatigued than normal, especially if you are finding yourself dizzy, see your physician immediately. Tell her or him what you are experiencing and ask that he refer you to a Kidney Specialist (Nephrologist) to be on the safe side. It’s best if your General Practitioner (GP) works with a Kidney Specialist on a regular basis, so you get the best overall care.

2. Swelling (Edema)
Though there are several causes of swelling, if you are swelling in your legs, ankles, wrist, or even around your eyes, this could be a sign that your kidneys are not functioning properly. This is often caused by electrolyte or other nutritional abnormalities that affect the proper filtration capacity of the kidneys. Lower extremity swelling can be a sign of heart disease, kidney disease, or other forms of poor circulation.

3. Changes in urination
A third possible sign of beginning kidney injury is a change in urination. Things like changes in the amount of urine, foaming, pale or dark urine, or red coloring could be a warning sign that you may be experiencing a problem. Whether or not the problem is simply dehydration or the beginning of severe kidney dysfunction, your doctor or specialist in the field can determine the issues.
With the exception of some acute (or immediate) problems, including seeing blood in the urine or an inability to urinate, or such isolated conditions in pregnancy like pre-eclampsia, kidney failure often moves through the five stages slowly. Noticing changes, including these three signs, can alert you and your doctor of potential problems early where intervention can often slow or halt progression. Always remember to drink plenty of water to aid in the filtration process and contact your doctor if you begin to experience any of these signs.

If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP and talk about your next best steps. You mustn’t wait to get this checked out. The earlier renal failure is detected the better the chances of staving off major problems. No one wants to get to the point where dialysis is needed. Not all GPs work hand in hand with doctors who understand the issues of kidney problems the way a doctor who specializes in the health of one’s kidneys does. Be sure that your doctors work together and communicate with you about your options and the best choices you can make. If you are experiencing renal failure, there will be changes to your diet and your lifestyle that must be made. You will need to talk to both your GP and your Nephrologist to create a best-practice plan for your health.

At PRINE Health, we have both general practitioners and Nephrologists on staff who will work together to create the best plan for you. Please contact us if you would like more information.

Do I Need A Primary Care Doctor To Work With My Kidney Specialist?

If you are experiencing issues related to kidney disease, you should be working with a specialist who knows your problems and deals directly with your particular needs. While that doctor is key to your health regarding your kidneys, that doesn’t mean that he or she should be your only medical practitioner. Nor should your primary doctor be the person who is solely in charge of your renal disease issues.

Too often, kidneys are overlooked in general practice. Issues can be mistaken or ignored. Too often, patients and their primary care providers can be unaware of renal problems. By failing to understand or recognize underlying kidney issues, a patient can be in stage 3 chronic kidney disease, which can quickly dwindle to stage 4 before it is caught and dealt with. In general practice, kidneys are often ignored not because of negligence but because of a lack of understanding and communication with a kidney health specialist.

How do doctors create a valid path between nephrology and primary care so that more patients can be helped more quickly before kidney disease (CKD) takes hold?

Communication must be set up between the primary care doctor and the nephrologist. A nephrologist doctor specializes in the diseases and conditions that affect the kidneys. Their job is to understand and treat chronic kidney disease, kidney infections, and, ultimately, kidney failure. The hope is to catch such ailments long before reaching the situation of kidney failure and the need for dialysis. When the primary care doctor works hand in hand with the nephrologist, the patient may be able to see a far better outcome regarding his or her kidney and overall health.

There is a shortage of nephrologists in the field, and thus having a primary care doctor who is savvy and better educated about the signs of renal issues, can help catch issues before they escalate. This is not an uncommon concept. Primary care doctors have become adept at diagnosing other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Collaborative care is the best hope for patients who need both the input of a specialist and the care of a primary physician who often knows the person’s medical history more intimately. Working together is the key to health success.

What is the best way to merge the care of a general practitioner and a kidney specialist when facing renal health issues?

The goal of any doctor is to create the best possible quality of life for his or her patients. Whether a specialist or a primary care doctor, information is the most critical factor. It is often difficult for doctors who are not working in the same practice to communicate effectively. However, we need to have these severe and intricate problem-solving conversations. The sooner a nephrologist is involved in the care of the patient-facing kidney disease, the better the chance for less stressful long-term outcomes. It will often fall upon the primary care doctor to help the patient make difficult lifestyle changes, including changes in eating habits and diet, stress management, exercise regimens, and even sleep habits. These doctors are often tasked to offer a form of psychological counseling about these difficult changes. The cross-over benefits for patients’ other diagnoses are well known.

In return, the family physician understands the importance of the guidance and planning the consulting nephrologist brings to the table as the expert on this pathology. They need to agree on the things that are of utmost importance for patients in both their care and help the patients they are working with, collaborating to succeed in making those necessary life changes. Together, they can motivate the patient to reach the best possible health outcome.

When a medical practice includes both primary physicians and nephrologists in the same environment, collaboration is far easier to achieve. Time may be of the essence with many patients. Having doctors who work well together and communicate easily is the best-case scenario when dealing with patients facing arduous treatments for kidney disease (CKD). This kind of communication between PCPs and specialists has proven track records of improved clinical outcomes when dealing with chronic illnesses. Too often, this collaboration doesn’t happen, so when it is part of the practice, the patient benefits exponentially.

PRINE Health has physical offices in the Manhasset and Hicksville, New York area that include both primary care doctors and nephrologists. They also offer telemedicine. If you’re seeking a nephrologist and primary care collaborative team, the professionals at PRINE Health would love to speak with you and assist you in your health success.

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