Supplements for Kidney Health

To take supplements, or not to take supplements. It may seem like a simple question. But if you or a loved one has kidney disease or is undergoing dialysis treatments, the answer might not be. The reason? Your body may need more of certain vitamins and minerals, but at the same time, there may be supplements you should avoid. 

The scoop on vitamins and minerals

Humans need vitamins and minerals because our bodies cannot produce them on their own. Vitamins and minerals are substances that aid body function by using the foods you eat. They give you energy, help the body grow and repair tissue, and more.

Nearly all vitamins and minerals come from food. For people with healthy kidneys, it’s much easier to consume nutrients from a balanced diet. But if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis, you may have limits on the types of foods you can eat. In this case, you may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need each day.

Supplements for kidney health

Depending on your current health status, health history and blood test results, your doctor may recommend some of the following supplements:

  • B complex – This group of vitamins consists of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid.
  • Additional B vitamins – Thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin help to change the foods you eat into usable energy.
  • Iron – Taking medicine to treat anemia? You may also need to take an iron supplement orally or via injection. You should only take iron if your doctor prescribes it for you.
  • Vitamin C – Works to keep different types of tissue healthy and to help wounds and bruises heal faster.
  • Vitamin D – Can be given as a pill or to dialysis patients during dialysis treatment. Vitamin D supports healthy bones, and recent research suggests it may also guard against heart disease. There are different types of vitamin D, so your doctor will be very specific about the type and amount you should be taking.
  • Calcium – Calcium supports bone health, but in excess, can adhere to phosphorus and deposit in the heart, blood vessels, lungs and other body tissues. Be sure to take only the prescribed amount of calcium.

Supplements that may not be kidney-friendly

For some people with kidney disease, certain vitamins and minerals should be avoided. Some of these include vitamins A, D, E and K, which can build up in the body and cause dizziness and nausea; even death. You should only take these vitamins under strict physician prescription and supervision.

For other people with kidney disease, there are concerns with vitamin C in large doses. Higher amounts of vitamin C may cause a buildup of oxalate, which can cause pain and other issues in the bones and tissues over time. 

Expert, compassionate kidney care in San Antonio and South Texas

Living with and managing kidney disease can be much easier with leading-edge kidney care close to home. With 10 locations in San Antonio and throughout South Texas, South Texas Renal Care Group is here to support you in the bigger picture of living with kidney disease, down to the details of proper nutrition and supplements. Our board-certified kidney specialists are caring and dedicated, and remain at the forefront of kidney care through clinical research trials to contribute to the development of the newest, most effective therapies and treatments.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 844-739-2897 or click here to use our online form.

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Managing Kidney Disease

If you or someone you love is living with kidney disease, it’s important to know there are many ways you can manage it. When your kidney function declines and you’re diagnosed with kidney disease, the first step you take will be focused on slowing additional damage to your kidneys and renal system.

Five ways to manage kidney disease

Stay in close contact with your doctors 

Kidney disease is a serious condition and your doctors need to know about any changes in your health as they happen. Regular communication with your doctors will help you get the best medical care, treatment and medication. It will also help you cope with the changing demands of the disease.

Eat for a diabetic lifestyle

Limiting certain ingredients in your diet like sodium, phosphorous and potassium can help slow the effects of kidney disease. Avoid foods like cured or canned meats, nuts, whole grains, dairy, dark leafy greens, potatoes, avocados and mushrooms. You’ll also want to look for hidden phosphates in bottled drinks or iced tea. Reducing protein can help reduce the amount of work your kidneys have to do each day. Many people who suffer from kidney disease are also required to limit their fluid intake to avoid fluid retention in the body.

Manage blood pressure and diabetes

These are two main causes of kidney disease. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly with an at-home kit, or a drug store that offers free blood pressure checks and making adjustments to your diet and daily activity will help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level and control your diabetes — both of which help slow damage to your kidneys.

Keep a healthy lifestyle 

Make sure you are getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding tobacco products. In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, you may also need regular tests to determine how well your kidneys are working.

Take medications as prescribed

Most people who suffer from kidney disease will need multiple medications to assist with kidney function and manage other health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Kidney medication helps make it easier for them to function, and helps them function as well as they can.

If you’re interested in learning more about dialysis treatment, or how to effectively manage kidney disease, please contact the experienced doctors at South Texas Renal Care Group. We are ready to support your kidney health and provide compassionate care during your treatments. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 844-739-2897.

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How Does Dialysis Treatment Work?

If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with kidney disease, you probably have a lot of questions, concerns and worry. While being told you have kidney disease is never welcome news, dialysis is a treatment that can help. Dialysis replaces the many vital functions of the kidneys and restores your blood to a normal, healthy state.

What do kidneys do?

Healthy kidneys work hard day and night to filter out harmful waste and excess fluid from the blood. This process keeps your blood healthy and you body functioning properly. Every day, these bean-shaped organs process 120 to 150 quarts of blood and produce approximately one to two quarts of urine. They are also responsible for regulating the amount of sodium, phosphorus and potassium in your body.

How does dialysis treatment work?

Dialysis is an artificial replacement for lost kidney function and is often used as a holding measure until a kidney transplant can be performed. Dialysis can help otherwise healthy people live full and active lives.

Before beginning dialysis treatments, your doctor will insert a fistula or catheter into your vein to help your blood to flow more easily from your body to the dialysis machine. Before your treatment, your doctor may give you a numbing medicine to eliminate any discomfort you may feel while the needle is inserted into the fistula or catheter. The needles are essential because they create a complete loop through the pump and filter of the dialysis machine.

What happens during dialysis treatment?

Your blood will flow from your body through the dialysis machine and back again. The process generally takes about three hours per session. Your blood pressure, weight and temperature will be taken before and after the procedure to confirm enough waste has been removed and you are in a condition that is suitable for leaving the facility.

Your doctor will then turn on the pump of the dialysis machine and set a timer. About every half hour your blood pressure will be taken to ensure it does not become too low. Low blood pressure can occur when too much fluid is removed from the blood.

What happens after treatment?

Following treatment, you may experience fatigue or physical weakness. This may last anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours. To help avoid or limit any fatigue and physical weakness, you may need to lengthen the time between your dialysis treatments. Lengthening the time in between dialysis treatments will help remove waste more slowly and lessen the severity of any side effects.

While dialysis can be uncomfortable, it’s a necessary treatment for those suffering from kidney disease or kidney failure. If you’re interested in learning more about dialysis treatment or in-home dialysis treatment, please contact experienced doctors at South Texas Renal Care Group. We are ready to support your kidney health and provide compassionate care during your dialysis treatments. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 844-739-2897.

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Earn a Bike Event

 

On March 26th, the team at South Texas Renal Care Group partnered with North Park Subaru to sponsor the Siclovia “Earn-a-Bike” program that awarded deserving youth from lower income neighborhoods the opportunity to earn a brand new bicycle. Attendees participated in a three-step process that empowered and promoted safe cycling and a healthy lifestyle.

Children were paired with volunteers who helped them assemble their bicycle. After the bikes were put together, everyone joined a safety cycling workshop and that also highlighted the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

To celebrate the accomplishment of the event, participants and volunteers went for a group bike ride around the neighborhood to show off their newly acquired skills.

“It was an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to partner with Christian Sandoval for Earn-a-Bike and Siclovia San Antonio. Establishing a healthy lifestyle and routine in one’s youth is key to leading a long and healthy life when you’re older. Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress, maintain a healthy weight and prevent diseases like diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease,” said Dr. M. Reza Mizani.

Stay tuned for more events sponsored by the team at South Texas Renal Care Group!

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National Kidney Month: Your Kidneys 101

March is National Kidney Month, so it’s the perfect opportunity to spread awareness about kidney disease and prevention methods so you can keep your kidneys doing what they do best.

What do kidneys do?

Most people have two kidneys, although one is generally more than enough to keep your blood clean and chemically balanced. These organs are located near the middle of the back, below the rib cage on either side of the spine. Everyday, these bean-shaped wonders process about 200 quarts of blood and produce approximately two quarts of waste and excess water. They are also responsible for measuring and regulating the amount of sodium, phosphorus and potassium that goes back into the body.

Tips for maintaining healthy kidneys

The main function of the kidneys is to extract waste from your blood, so it’s important to keep them healthy. A few tips to help them work properly:

  • Hydrate
    Your kidneys need fluid to help push toxins and waste out of the blood and eventually out of your body. Drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day and keep things moving along to encourage healthy kidneys.
  • Eat healthy
    Maintaining a healthy diet is good for so many reasons. When it comes to your kidneys, you should avoid foods high in salt and sugar to help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.

  • Lower your (high) blood pressure
    Often associated with diabetes and high cholesterol, high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney disease. By making a few small lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and reducing the amount of sodium and alcohol you consume, you can begin to lower your high blood pressure.

  • Exercise
    Regular exercise helps reduce your risk of excessive weight gain, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Try taking a brisk walk each day to get your blood circulating.
  • Avoid tobacco products
    The chemicals in tobacco harm your blood cells — among many other things — which decreases the amount of blood that can pass through your kidneys.

One in three Americans are at risk of developing kidney disease, so the experienced doctors at South Texas Renal Care Group are ready to help support your kidney health. Contact us today to schedule your kidney screening at 844-739-2897.

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Upcoming Earn-A-Bike Event

The entire team at South Texas Renal Care Group is excited to sponsor the Earn-A-Bike program, an event that gives deserving children from lower income neighborhoods the opportunity to earn a new bicycle!

The children earn their bike in a three-step process that focuses on the importance of healthy habits and sustainable cycling, maintenance, safety and nutrition.

First, the children are paired with their own Mentor Volunteer to guide them in assembling the bicycle. Next, attendees learn about healthy habits and nutrition through fun interactive activities. The last part of the program is a Safe Cycling Class to educate participants about important bike safety practices. Once the program concludes, all attendees and volunteers go on a bike ride together around the neighborhood.

When: Sunday, March 26th from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Where: Síclovía

For more information about the Earn-A-Bike event and how you can get involved, go to http://www.earnabikecoop.org/earnabike.html.

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Tips to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

Kidneys do a lot every day to help keep your body functioning properly. If they are doing their job well, they often go unnoticed. However, it’s important to keep them healthy so they can continue keeping you well.

The kidney’s primary functions are to extract waste from your blood, balance bodily fluids, form urine and regulate blood pressure. They are also responsible for making red blood cells. Red blood cells help give you the energy you need to get through your day. Needless to say, it’s important to keep them healthy. Let’s take a look at a few easy ways you can keep your kidneys operating at peak performance.

Tips for healthy kidneys

Stay hydrated

Drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day to encourage healthy kidneys.

Eat a healthy diet

Avoid foods that are high in salt and sugar to help prevent diabetes and high blood pressure, and to keep your kidneys in good condition.

Get regular exercise

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of excessive weight gain, high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Stop all tobacco use

Smoking can damage blood vessels and decrease the amount of blood passing through the kidneys. When this happens, your kidneys are unable to function at peak performance.

Monitor your blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney damage, especially when it’s associated with diabetes and high cholesterol.

If you’re concerned about the health of your kidneys, begin incorporating these healthy tips into your daily routine. One in three Americans are at risk of developing kidney disease, so the physicians and vein care specialists at the South Texas Renal Care Group encourage you to get a kidney screening. It’s important to find out what is adversely affecting your kidney’s function, the steps you can take to encourage healthy kidneys and how to reduce your risk of kidney disease.

South Texas Renal Care Group is committed to providing you with comprehensive kidney care to help keep you as healthy as possible. If you are in need of leading-edge kidney care treatments, contact us today at (844) 739-2897.

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National Donor Day: How Kidney Donation Works

Celebrate National Donor Day (February 14th) and give hope to people suffering from kidney failure. Almost everyone is born with two kidneys, but did you know we really only need one? One kidney is more than sufficient to handle the load of your body, so donating to someone in need will not affect your overall health or well-being.

Save a life when you become a kidney donor

Let’s learn how kidney donation works, so you can decide if it’s right for you.

Testing

Before you are approved to donate a kidney, doctors need to conduct medical, surgical and psychological assessments. These tests ensure donors are healthy enough to donate a kidney, have healthy kidneys, and are mentally and physically prepared for donation. Some of the tests include: urine, blood, glucose tolerance, blood pressure, and extensive kidney testing.

Meet the transplant surgeon

If you’ve successfully passed each of the tests, you will meet with the surgeon to discuss the donation, details of the operation, and possible surgery dates.

Determine compatibility

Next, more blood work is taken to assess your tissue type and blood group. This information helps surgeons match you to a potential recipient. They take every precaution to ensure a successful transplant.

Meet an independent assessor

An independent assessor ensures you completely understand the risk of the process and are making an informed decision. They are also there to ensure you are not being coerced or forced into donating your kidney. This person is in charge of clearing you for surgery, so it’s important to answer his or her questions carefully and honestly.

Final testing

Additional blood tests are taken a week or so prior to surgery to reconfirm compatibility and ensure nothing has changed that could affect the outcome of the surgery.
The testing process can take a few months to complete because everyone involved wants to ensure the best possible outcome for both the donor and recipient. Once complete, it is time for surgery.

The surgery

This procedure is most often performed via laparoscopic surgery to help reduce the length of recovery time for the donor. While you are under general anesthesia, the transplant surgeon will make three small incisions to gain access to and detach the kidney. Next, a small incision (approximately 15 cm long) is made to ease the removal of the kidney. Immediately following removal, your kidney is transported to the recipient and prepared for transplantation.

If you or someone you know is in need of expert kidney care, contact South Texas Renal Care Group at (844) 739-2897. Our physicians will help you navigate your options and treatment.

 

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Are You Passing a Kidney Stone?

You may have heard stories of what it’s like to pass a kidney stone. You may be surprised to learn that some people can pass a stone by taking pain medication and drinking lots of water. But if stones get stuck in the urinary tract, painful complications can arise and require more invasive (but effective) procedures like surgery.

Kidney stones and their symptoms

Small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys, kidney stones can affect any part of the urinary tract — from the kidneys to the bladder. Often, stones form when urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

Some of the main symptoms of kidney stones manifest in severe pain in your back or side below your ribs. One of the most common ways stones reveal themselves is through problems with urination. These can include:

  • Pain while urinating
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that smells differently than it normally does
  • An urge to urinate more often than usual
  • Blood in the urine that appears brown, pink or red

Be sure to see a doctor if these symptoms are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, chills or fever, which could indicate the presence of an infection.

Kidney stone treatment

Depending on the size of the kidney stones, treatment varies. Most small kidney stones don’t require invasive treatment. You may be able to pass a small stone by drinking plenty of water and taking pain relievers or muscle relaxers.

Removing or breaking up large kidney stones is often done via more invasive treatments. When large stones don’t pass on their own or cause bleeding, they can trigger kidney damage or urinary tract infections. Procedures to remove large kidney stones may include:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) – This therapy uses sound waves (which create shock waves) that break the stones into tiny pieces that can be passed in your urine.
  • Surgery – Using small telescopes and instruments inserted through a small incision in your back, your doctor can remove a kidney stone.
  • Scoping – To take out a smaller stone in the ureter or kidney, your doctor passes a thin lighted tube (ureteroscope) equipped with a camera through your urethra and bladder to your ureter. Once the stone is located, special tools can snare it or break it into pieces that will pass in your urine.

Credentialed, compassionate kidney care in South Texas

If you’re experiencing pain while urinating or any of the advanced symptoms of kidney stones, don’t wait to seek treatment. Kidney stones, left alone, can cause painful and serious kidney damage, even kidney failure.

At South Texas Renal Care Group, our team of board certified physicians provides leading edge care for chronic kidney disease due to hypertension, diabetes, vascular access management, dialysis or a kidney transplant. We are dedicated to helping the people of San Antonio and throughout South Texas get the utmost in quality kidney care with essential convenience.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 844-739-2897 or click here to use our online form.

 

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Diagnosing Kidney Disease

More than 26 million people have kidney disease, which is the gradual loss of kidney function. But because it often has no symptoms, kidney disease can go unnoticed until it advances toward the serious status of kidney failure. As such, early detection and treatment are the keys to keeping kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure.

The critical role of the kidneys

The kidneys are the workhorses of the body. They function 24 hours a day, seven days per week to eliminate waste and toxins from the body. The kidneys also balance fluids in the body and control the production of red blood cells.

Are you at risk for kidney disease?

Certain conditions and diseases, along with factors like family history and ethnicity, can increase your risk for developing kidney disease. They include:

  • Family history of kidney disease
  • African American, Hispanic American, Asian, Pacific Islander or American Indian ethnicity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate, kidney stones and certain cancers
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys)
  • Recurrent kidney infection (pyelonephritis)

Diagnosing kidney disease

The first step in diagnosing kidney disease is a discussion about your personal and family history, your current medications and if you’ve noticed changes in your urinary habits. Tests to detect early kidney disease include:

  • Urine test to gauge protein levels. Excess amounts of protein in the urine may indicate the filtering units of the kidneys have been damaged by disease. A positive result could be due to fever or heavy exercise, so your doctor will want to re-examine your results over several weeks.
  • Blood test for blood creatinine. Your test results should be factored in with your age, race, gender and other health issues to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Your GFR indicates how well your kidneys function.
  • Imaging tests, such as ultrasound accurately assess the size and structure of the kidneys.
  • Kidney biopsy to remove a sample of kidney tissue. The biopsy procedure can usually be performed in-office and under local anesthesia. The doctor inserts a long, thin needle through the skin and into the kidney to collect a tiny tissue sample. The biopsy sample is sent to a lab for testing to help determine what’s causing your kidney problem.

Expert care for kidney disease is here for you

At South Texas Renal Care Group, we are wholly dedicated to the people of the San Antonio area and throughout South Texas.

Whether you feel you are at risk for kidney disease, have just been diagnosed, or are seeking advanced treatments for kidney disease, we are ready to help. Our board certified physicians in internal medicine and nephrology are experienced, caring and committed to helping you manage your condition. They also participate in government-approved clinical research trials, which helps our entire team keep up with the latest innovations in kidney care.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 844-739-2897 or click here to use our online form.

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