Love Your Heart, Love Your Health

Love your Heart, Love your Health

At Renalogic, we LOVE talking about kidneys, of course!

When talking about kidney health, one naturally thinks about heart health. Makes sense, right? –The plumbing in the heart is the same plumbing in the kidneys – and while we’re at it – the brain, the liver, the toes! If you have cardiovascular issues: issues relating to the heart and vasculature (plumbing), it’s important to note that the same problems are everywhere.

If one has atherosclerosis, for example, what we see is a buildup and hardening of cholesterol plaques in the blood vessels supplying the heart. Keep in mind, that the blood vessels supply nutrients and oxygen to EVERY body part. So the hardening isn’t just in the heart – it’s everywhere the blood vessels are: brain, eyes, liver, toes – everywhere. If blood pressures are too high – it’s too high EVERYWHERE!

This is why we often talk to kidney patients, or people at risk for kidney issues, including CKD (chronic kidney disease) about heart heath. Everything you do to protect your heart, will also help protect your kidneys!

Your kidneys have the job of filtering every drop of blood in the body. To do this, they must have adequate supply of blood to filter. When blood supply is restricted due to narrow arteries, too high pressure or viscosity as we see in things like diabetes, then the kidneys suffer as a result and it is harder for the kidneys to do their work of filtering.

Here are three main things you can do TODAY to help your heart and your kidneys be healthier:

NO SMOKING

Smoking is not just bad for the lungs! Nicotine – even in the e-cigarettes – binds vitamin C, which makes it almost impossible for smokers to make enough collagen that keeps skin and blood vessels soft and elastic. This is why smokers wrinkle faster and heal slower! And when blood vessels aren’t elastic, they are prone to damage – think of a brittle straw… what happens when you bend it? – it cracks, right? – that same process is happening in the blood vessels: little nicks and tears call for more cholesterol to try to ‘shore up’ the damage….like bandaids on the inside of a straw would certainly narrow the diameter – so too does cholesterol trying to patch up the inside of your blood vessels. Thus, restricting blood flow – not just to the heart, but EVERYWHERE – including kidneys.

EXERCISE

I’m the first one to tell you that anyone who says they like to exercise must be lying! But, it is so vital to your health and well-being … and to your circulation! Our bodies are designed to MOVE! Exercise helps circulation which means more flow to the heart and kidneys. It helps flush toxins and cholesterols. If you’re not moving – START!

CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

if you have diabetes, be sure to keep blood sugars in healthy range. always check with your doctor, but a good range is between 90-150 for a diabetic, and 70-110 for a non-diabetic. If you’ve been told you have “borderline” diabetes, you need to make some lifestyle changes. You are now in the danger zone!

When sugars are high, it requires more blood pressure to move the blood along. Think of making homemade syrup. You dissolve sugar til it won’t dissolve anymore, right? It gets thicker. It’s a lot harder on the heart to circulate the higher viscosity, which impedes blood flow. Your blood pressure rises, and your skin and hair changes because cells can’t get the nutrients they need. Moderately high blood sugars over time do a lot of damage. Remember that your blood sugars are supported by three main factors: Diet, Medication and Exercise.

Kimberlee Langford

Kimberlee Langford, RN BSN CCM CPC Nurse Coach, Complex Case Manager Kimberlee Langford is a Complex Case Manager and nurse coach at Renalogic, with over 18 years’ experience in the Nursing profession, and professional coaching. Kimberlee helped to launch the nurse coach program of Renalogic in 2013, and continues to work with our nursing team to engage and empower members in our ongoing efforts to prevent the development and progression of CKD in populations of at-risk members, delay dialysis for those with late-stage CKD and ESRD, and save costs for members and clients alike.