If you have chronic kidney disease, you might find that your body retains fluids. This fluid retention can be especially noticeable when it occurs in your legs and arms. Medically, this swelling is called edema. This swelling can be unpleasant, and some find it painful. There are some options to improve things at home.
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Avoid foods that add extra salt to your diet. Highly processed foods, such as junk foods and fast foods, are sources of high salt and should be steered clear of. Although they aren’t fast foods, convenience foods such as canned soups or frozen dinners are also high in salt. Certainly, avoid adding salt to your food in the form of table salt or also soy sauce. Be careful with sauces and condiments in general for hidden salt.
Put the Kibosh on Potassium
Watch the amount of high potassium foods in your diet. Foods to be avoided are bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. Replace these with low potassium choices such as apples, carrots, cabbage, grapes, green beans, or blueberries. Be watchful of condiments that are salt substitutes as they often have extra potassium.
Choose Low Protein
Go easy on your kidneys by choosing low protein foods. Avoid foods such as lean meats, eggs, milk, cheese, and beans. Choose more low protein sources such as vegetables, bread and grains, and fruits. Low protein choices create less work and less stress on your kidneys.
Be Wary about Water
The more fluids you intake, the more fluids that are available cause swelling. Be mindful of the amount of water you drink. Realize that water comes from many sources such as fruits, soups, and even ice cream. All these fluid sources can lead to changes in the fluid balance in your body.
Movement Moves Water
Movements and stretching can help redistribute the excess fluids. However, avoid the strenuous use of swollen limbs until swelling has gone down. Using the muscles can pump fluids back from your extremities so that the fluids can be removed from your body.
Elevating Isn’t Just for Elevators
Several times a day, extend the swollen limbs to an elevation above the level of your heart. Hold this position for a few minutes and repeat several times daily. Anytime you are laying down; you can implement elevation to help. Every little bit helps. Consider using pillows strategically while you sleep to keep body areas elevated while sleeping.
Massage is Another Great Option
Firm but not painful massage can assist with excess fluids. Stroke the affected limb with firm pressure. Stroke in the direction of your heart as you are pushing fluid toward the heart. For added benefit, an ice pack can help. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin. Apply the ice pack for up to 15 minutes.
Protect Your Skin
Use a moisturizer and keep skin protected. Feet should always have a covering because swelling usually starts there. Moist skin is less likely to crack under the strain of edema. With moist skin, patients can avoid scrapes and infections better.
Take a Good Rest
When swelling starts you should consider resting for a few days. You do not need to stay in bed, but avoid excessive use of that area of the body. A good night’s sleep will help your body return to its normal condition. Adults should get about seven or eight hours of sleep per night.
- People who have dialysis done may find their arms and legs swell up with extra fluid.
- Lower your salt intake.
- Switch to low potassium foods.
- Choose low protein foods.
- Watch how much water you drink and eat.
- Movements can help push fluids towards being pumped out.
- Keeping and arm or leg elevated can help move fluids.
- Massage by pressing firmly toward the heart. Use an ice pack for added benefit.
- Protect your skin with moisturizers.
- Get the appropriate amount of rest.
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