Maintaining Kidney Health

In light of the reduced kidney function following donation, general considerations to maintain healthy kidney status would be:

  • maintain a good hydration status by drinking plenty of fluids, including a mix of water and electrolyte-containing solutions (juice, cucumber water, citrus water, etc)
  • exercise regularly, but not to excess and maintain an active lifestyle
  • try to eliminate salt from your diet if at all possible including all addition of table salt and salty flavorings or sauces, and avoid cooking with the same.  Processed foods are notorious for containing lots of salt introduced during production, so read labels and be cautious about ingesting a lot of these types of meals.
  • moderate protein intake and eliminate sources of extraneous protein supplementation.  You can eat meat with each meal, but moderate the amount to approximate the small of your palm as a guideline, and avoid protein shakes, or bars or other supplements high in protein.
  • if possible, avoid Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) type drugs which can affect the way the kidney regulates its blood flow (e.g: aspirin (ASA), naproxen, ketorolac, ibuprofen)
  • be aware of starting new medications which might have potentially kidney toxic effects.  Consult your physician if you are unsure of a drug’s safety with regards to kidney health.

Although these are guidelines for post-kidney donation health, they really relate to healthy living in general and a good attitude towards maintaining healthy kidneys for life.

Of course, maintain contact with your Transplant Center or primary care physician (whomever is tasked with following your post donation course) as it is important to continue to document your overall health in order to diagnose and treat systemic diseases early which may impact long term kidney function (early diabetes, high blood pressure, etc).

For Donors, Recipients and you!