4 Heart Health Tips for Home Dialysis Patients
February is American Heart Month. This month is all about raising heart heath awareness and adopting healthy behaviors. As a home dialysis patient, maintaining your heart health is critically important: heart disease is a leading cause of death for those with kidney failure. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, practicing heart healthy behaviors could prevent your condition from getting worse.
Eat for Heart Health
A heart-healthy diet is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Instead, opt for foods like:
- Berries and fiber-rich fruits
- Greens like spinach, broccoli, and asparagus
- Vegetables like carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes
- Omega-3 rich foods like salmon, flaxseeds, and soy
For dialysis patients, it is also important to limit foods high in phosphorous, including dairy. Your dietitian can help you find recipes that are both heart healthy and dialysis friendly. And of course, always take your phosphorous binders with meals. Imbalanced levels of phosphorous and calcium can contribute to heart disease in dialysis patients.
There are so many benefits to getting regular exercise. You’ll elevate your mood, improve your heart function, lose weight, lower cholesterol, and more. If you’re new to exercising, start slowly. Your care team can help you develop a fitness plan that’s right for you. Many home dialysis patients enjoy walking, yoga, and gentle stretching.
Make Time to Destress
Feelings of sadness, anger, worry, and resentment can cause your heart to work harder than normal. Especially if these feelings are prolonged over time, your heart cannot continue to work effectively at fast pace. There are many options for managing your stress, including meditation, doing an activity you enjoy, talking to your social worker, or consulting with a psychologist.
Diabetics: Keep Blood Sugar in Check
For home dialysis patients with diabetes, your heart has to work even harder which limits its ability to pump blood through your body. That means it’s important to check your blood sugar regularly, take the appropriate medication as directed, and follow the heart health tips listed above.
The Cincinnati Home Dialysis care team is here to help you live life on your terms. With a few adjustments to your eating habits, you can boost your heart health and overall wellbeing. Contact your dietitian before making any changes to your diet.