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Published on November 20th, 2019 | by Michaelw


How to Survive the Holidays

How to Protect Your Kidney Health and Survive the Holidays

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Hello, this is Katherine, welcome to 00kidney and happy holiday season everyone!
In today’s video: the top 7 hidden dangers for the health of your kidneys… and some easy tips to avoid them during the holiday season!
Because thanksgiving is behind the corner and it’s already time to start gift wrapping.
Yes, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year and you got to spend it with your family and friends and to celebrate!
But this season is also full of hidden dangers for your kidneys!

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year’s traditions all revolve around… eating unhealthy foods!
Not to talk about all the stress and, like it wasn’t enough, it’s flu season too!
And I know that a lot of you guys watching me right now spent the last 11 months fighting kidney disease and doing hard-earned progresses thanks to your healthy renal diet and lifestyle…
So you really don’t want to risk it all in just one month of holidays!
What to do then? Should you just avoid the festivities and spend these days alone?

Certainly not!
Follow the easy tips and advices of today’s video to avoid the hidden dangers of the holiday season and to keep your kidneys healthy without having to give up celebrating the holidays!
Because the battle for kidney health is a march, not a sprint, and you need to keep being focused on the target of getting your kidney health back.
You need to be strong to achieve this result, you need to be a fighter because when it comes to fighting and beating chronic kidney disease one of the best things you can do is to always stay focused on improving your kidney health.
So don’t forget to share this video with anyone you know that is suffering from chronic kidney disease and that will also have to face the holidays!
Hidden Danger n7: the flu.
Fact: The flu, bad colds, pneumonias are more dangerous for people suffering from kidney disease than people think.
The flu can weaken the body’s strength and increase inflammation, making kidney problems even worse.
Not to mention that individuals with chronic kidney disease or kidney failure are at higher risk for dangerous complications, as are people with other chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Young children and people over 65 are also at higher risk.

To add insult to injury, people with kidney disease cannot even take antibiotics normally, because of the risk for further kidney damage.
What to do then? Are you bound to get sick? Should you just hide somewhere to avoid all those dangerous germs?
Not at all! You just need to take some simple precautions to avoid the dangers of the flu.

First of all, get your flu shot.
When you get a flu vaccination, your body releases antibodies that can protect you from the most common virus strains in any given season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The flu shot is also going decrease the rate of complications like pneumonia or even death.
So getting the flu shot is extremely recommended for people suffering from chronic illnesses and those over the age of 65.

Now, flu season starts by the end of October and peaks between November and March, according to the CDC.
So right now would be the ideal time to get your flu shot and be covered for the whole season.
And, while antibiotics can cause a kidney damage, flu shots are safe for people with kidney disease.

Another tip to avoid the flu: keep your hands away from your face, mouth and nose.
Simply touching a contaminated surface won’t give you the flu, since the virus doesn’t infect the skin.
It has to touch a mucosal membrane in your mouth or nose to cause an infection.
So you won’t get the flu from touching a contaminated surface alone unless you touch your face without
washing your hands.
So, have you touched a light switch, a door handle or any other surface in a communal area?
Wash your hands with soap and water and also bring with you a bottle of hand sanitizer gel for those days when you don’t even have the time to wash your hands.

Hidden danger of the holiday season n6: … stress!
Yes, the flu can make you sick, but guess what? Stress can, too, especially during the holidays.
Cooking a holiday dinner for a dozen people while trying to ensure that your house stays tidy, your outfit stays immaculate, and your dog doesn’t eat the decorations can be… absolutely maddening.
Worse part is that your body will produce a surge of hormones when you’re in a stressful situation, causing a spike in blood pressure.
In fact, heart attacks increase by a full third when the holidays roll around, and the number of people who have strokes, panic attacks, and nervous breakdowns also increases exponentially.

Not to mention the danger for your kidneys!
Let’s not forget that high blood pressure can directly cause chronic kidney disease. All this stress is really dangerous even for the kidneys of an healthy person.
So, what should you do to protect your kidneys health?

Well actually, the experts say that’s not the stressful situation itself that causes health problems, but the way we deal with it.
So what you actually need to do is just to face the stressful situations in an healthier way.

Gift something personal rather than something expensive.
Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season.
If you’re on a budget, don’t spend more than you’ve planned.
Most important, don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.
You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you.

Also Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family.
Focus instead on the traditions that make the holidays special for you.
Having the chance to see all the relatives and people in your lives you only see during the holidays can cause a lot of stress, but it also brings a great joy if you plan ahead.
Kidney health danger n5:… The winter blues
We all occasionally experience what they call the winter blues, but the holidays can sometimes even trigger depression.
Also called seasonal affective disorder, acronym for SAD, this disorder is very common, with many of us experiencing a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter.
You may find yourself feeling more lethargic and down overall.
This can be especially bad if you are already dealing with a chronic disease or if someone in your family is.

This very common mood disorder is characterized by depressive symptoms and it’s mainly caused by the low light seasons, such as winter.
According to the experts, the cause of the holiday’s depression, SAD, is the lower level of natural sunlight we are exposed to in the fall and winter.
This will cause a disruption of the circadian rhythm and a lack of serotonin, the good mood hormone that our body produces.
What to do then?

First of all, get all the sunlight you can during winter. Since lack of sunlight is the main cause of this disorder, getting as much as you can of it could be a way to solve the problem.
Then, try to be as social as possible. Make and keep plans with friends and families to help you stay connected to your loved ones. This is a great way to fight the SAD.
And get support if you need it.
if it’s a little bit more than the holiday blues and you catch yourself feeling more depressed than usual, that’s a good time for you to go see your doctor, have a conversation about your symptoms.
And, this is a message for people who are not suffering from kidney disease but are watching me right now because someone in their families, maybe their parents or relatives, suffer from this disease.
The social side of holiday celebration is really important for people suffering from a chronic illness.
Include them in every way you can. Being mindful of their condition will help them to enjoy the holidays and stay healthy.

Danger n4 giving up exercising and an healthy lifestyle
According to recent statistics, there’s always a spike in symptoms for people with chronic health issues around the holidays.
This means that you’re actually risking of undoing a lot of the progresses made during the year with your hard work and dedication, as I was saying. Yes, the statistics prove this fact.
This is not just true for people battling chronic kidney disease but even for those with
high blood pressure, diabetes or other chronic health issues.
Why does this happen?
Most people aren’t exercising, and they’re more relaxed about their diets, which can spell trouble if you have diabetes or kidney disease.
Stick to your exercise and eating routines as best as you can, and if you do get out of sync, try to get back on track quickly.
How to do it?
First Keep moving.
If you manage to avoid letting exercise take a backseat during the holidays, you’re golden.
Easier said than done, right? Well remember that exercise is maybe the best stress reliever.
And we’ve already seen how dangerous stress can be during the holidays.

So start by getting outside every time you can, especially when it’s sunny.
Even if it’s just for a walk. Take a family member with you; socialize. Before you know it, you could have hit 8,000 steps, or four miles, in a single walking session.
And this would help even for the socializing part of the holidays and to get some more sunlight. Two really important factors.
And, if you still aren’t exercising regularly, this season could be the right time to start.
I know that a lot of you guys watching me right now can’t just get a gym subscription and start to lift weights or reach the nearest squash court and start a match right away.
But those are not the only way to exercise!
Anything counts as exercise if it raises your heart beat and your metabolism and you can do it regularly.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking your dog outside for a walk.
Even cleaning the house or washing your car can count!

The point is, there are lot of different ways to exercise and stay healthy, and the more choices you have, the better.
The most important thing is to find activities that you enjoy, because that’s what you’ll stick with long-term.

Danger number 3: The food.
So the holidays really present a lot of dangers for the health of people suffering from chronic kidney disease, but the food may be one of the worst.
All the tastiest foods are unfortunately… unhealthy.
And, when it comes to the holidays, all seems to revolve around traditions that include food.
But diet is a really critical aspect of managing kidney disease, something you cannot forget even during the holidays, unfortunately.
So follow these tips to avoid the most dangerous holiday foods.
Sugar is the number one risk when it comes to food. Everything related to the holidays seems to be full of sugar.
Drinks for example.
Sodas should be avoided by kidney patients during the whole year, and especially during the holidays, since there’s already too much sugar going around even without drinking sugary drinks.
So remember that just one glass of soda can pack 20 or even more grams of sugar in it.
Grab a seltzer instead of a soda. You’ll be saving yourself an insulin spike and your kidneys will thank you.
Then there’s potassium. Kidney patients know how it can be really hidden anywhere.
Select low potassium desserts such as cake or fruit pies, instead of pecan pie, pumpkin pie, fruitcake or chocolate desserts. And be very mindful of portion control, when it comes to desserts.
Fluid intake can be another issue.
Remember that gelatins and gravy count as fluid too.
And, to avoid overindulging during the meals, wait 15 minutes before second dishes, so your stomach will have the time to let your brain know if you’re already full.
And what if you’re the one making dinner?
Remember to never go shopping hungry because that’s how you end up buying the unhealthiest things you’ll regret later.
You can put together a delicious holiday meal for the entire family and still select foods that are acceptable for a kidney-friendly diet.
Remember to prepare foods with herbs and spices in place of high sodium seasonings.
Reduce or replace high potassium and high phosphorus ingredients.

The number 2 hidden Danger of the holiday season is… not getting enough sleep
This one is a true hidden danger: sleeping can become even harder during this season, due to the lack of sunlight and the extra stress.
And this is a lot more dangerous for your kidney health than you may think
Researchers think that the body’s natural day night cycle, called circadian rhythm plays a very important role in the health of the kidneys.
The kidney is timed to work differently during the night than during the day because the demands on the body are different. And it needs this rest for recovering, just like you do.
In fact, a large study shown that people who slept five hours or less a night had a 65 percent greater risk of rapid decline in kidney function, compared with people sleeping seven to eight hours a night.

So what to do not to lose sleep during the holiday season?
Well, according to the experts, the best thing to do is to try to maintain your normal sleep schedule.
Sure, there will be a few late nights, but try to go to bed and wake up at the same time, day after day, as much as you can.
If you attend a late-night party, try to wake up within an hour of your usual time the next day, even if you’re tired.
This will support your body’s natural circadian rhythm, and your kidneys will thank you.
If you have troubles falling asleep, take some time to decompress.
An hour before bed, start winding down your activities so you can set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. Think of this as your time to power down: Put aside your “to do” list, ditch the late-night chores, and focus on relaxing your body and mind.
This is a great moment to practice deep-breathing exercises or meditation and visualization techniques. Maybe read a comforting book, or enjoy some soothing music.
Think of this as a gift to yourself—after all, you deserve it!
And the n1 Danger for people with kidney disease is… forgetting to take medications!
Well, remembering to take all the medications a kidney patient should take during the day is an hard task even during less busy days, but during the holidays this can become a real problem.
What to do to avoid to forget any dose?

A very good advice is to use a pillbox, if you aren’t already using one.
One that has a compartment for each day of the week. This device can visually remind you to take your medications and will prevent you from taking a double dose.
Also take advantage of technology, set up daily reminders on your phone.
Especially for phosphate binders, if you take them. Those should always be taken with food, because the main action occurs as food is being digested.
This is all for today, thank you for watching!

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About the Author

Hi, my name is Michael and in this blog I'm gonna share the story of how I got off kidney dialysis for good. Getting off dialysis isn't easy at all, and that's why I'm trying to help people as much as I can.

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