A new research has warned that extreme heat can be risky for people with renal diseases. And if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you’ll probably need to take certain additional precautions to protect your health during the summer months. Here are five critical health tips designed for people living with chronic kidney disease.
Summer health tips |Photo Credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: Summer is a great time to have fun with friends and family. It is also the perfect atmosphere to do outdoor activities. Although summer allows people to go outdoors and relax, the warm weather can bring in a host of health problems, especially heat-related illnesses. Just like extreme cold increases mortality risks for people with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, summer can be a challenging time for people living with renal diseases, according to a new study. In fact, research has shown that heat and cold waves affect people with certain health conditions differently, highlighting the need for tailored public service risk communication.
The findings published in the journal Risk Analysis showed that risk for people with cardiovascular disease or respiratory illness increased in the winter, but not significantly in the summer, which was the opposite for people with renal diseases. However, the study said diabetics showed no clear response to extreme temperature. “Considering climate variability over space and time, tailored emergency risk communication programmes are extremely important for informing the general public about potential health risks, such as severe heat waves or cold snaps, and how individuals can protect themselves,” said Matteo Convertino, Associate Professor of Hokkaido University in Japan who led the study. “Our model can determine such temperature thresholds to start risk communications, which is important for saving human lives,” he added. Read: A guide to your health care and recovery after a kidney transplant
And if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you’ll probably need to take certain additional precautions to protect your health during the summer months. Here are five critical health tips designed for people living with chronic kidney disease:
Maintain fluid balance
It’s very important to keep a good fluid balance by checking with your healthcare team for guidance. While you do not want to become dehydrated, you’ll have to watch how much you drink to avoid fluid overload which can cause complications in your body. Excess fluid can also accumulate in the lungs, causing breathing difficulty.
Hence, you should check with your doctor about your fluid intake as the temperature rises during hot summer days. Patients are advised to avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol as well as limit intake of sugar as they can cause dehydration. Also, restrict salt intake as too much of this can cause swelling and increase the blood pressure, putting stress on the heart. Kidney patients should eat a healthy, balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables.
People on dialysis or living with chronic kidney disease are suggested to wear a good sunscreen with an SPF(sun protection factor) of at least 15. Unprotected exposure to the sun can damage the skin and even result in skin cancers in some cases. So, make sure that you apply sunscreen liberally and remember to reapply it again every two hours. A water-resistant sunscreen is recommended when swimming or exercising.
Just as sunscreen shields your skin from the harmful UV rays, wearing sunglasses when going outside helps protect your eyes. It is suggested to look for sunglasses that block 99 percent of UVB rays and 50 percent of UVA rays.
Do not hesitate to go outside during the sunny days and get some exercise. It is vital to find ways to incorporate physical activity into your schedule. But before starting any exercise programme, be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare team who may create a fitness plan that will support your health. Studies suggest simple exercises can help improve the health of kidney patients.
Plan your vacation
With a little pre-planning, you can still have a summer vacation with your loved ones even if you have kidney disease. Just make sure you consult your doctor to determine whether your health is stable enough to go on a trip. Carry your medication, including any essential medical information – in case the need arises. If you do in-center hemodialysis, plan with your nurse or medical team about making arrangements to do dialysis in the place to which you’ll be heading to.
Note: The content, including advice, is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. We suggest you to work with your doctor or healthcare team for continuity of care and to ensure the best outcome for you.