Kidney Class Week #12

Happy Thursday! I am a day late and a dollar short again this week, lol. I guess it doesn’t matter which day I post these on, but I do try to stay consistent for my readers.

This week we are on slide #12 which has to do with HTN in relation to Kidney Disease. This slide is very self-explanatory, and if you want some videos and other information, the past two weeks also were about this topic. I have tons of posts in my archives on the topic of blood pressure, so you can browse there as well. High Blood Pressure is the #2 cause for Kidney Failure, right behind Diabetes at #1. It is imperative that you monitor your blood pressure routinely, even if you don’t have the condition. Catching and treating it early will help prevent long-term effects. I recommend you learn to take your own blood pressure with a manual cuff, or someone in your family, if you have CKD, already. If you can’t technology has improved the electronic monitors greatly. Just be sure and follow the instructions in the packet, and get a cuff size appropriate for the size of your arm. Keep a log of your blood pressure and share it with your doctor, whether you visit yearly, monthly, or weekly.

I am an AKF Kidney Coach. These slides are theirs. As a Kidney Coach I run the class, take comments, and answer questions based on their program, my experience with CKD, and my experience as a nurse. This is not medical advice nor should it be taken as such. It is informative and educational. This applies only to my Kidney Coach status with them. All other blog posts are mine and have nothing to do with AKF Kidney Coach classes.

Please leave me a comment if you have CKD, love someone who has CKD, have High Blood Pressure, or just have questions about the topic. I will answer all valid questions, and spam is deleted. If you would rather not make public comments, you can use the contact form below to send me an email and I will answer you there.

Scroll down to read this week’s slide.


10 risk factors you can control!

Happy Wednesday! As we come to the end of May and the end of Blood Pressure Awareness Month, it is time to start putting it all together. You can read all the posts on this topic in the archives. There is a ton of helpful information there. This post may contain affiliate links.

So, what are the 10 risk factors you can control?

  1. Everyone hates it when a medical person says this, but controlling your weight, if you are over weight or obese, is the #1 risk factor you can control to prevent High Blood Pressure. Now, for a small population, due to reasons outside of their control, weight loss may not be a risk factor they can control. BMI, and hip to waist ratio are other tools, besides just a number on a scale that can help you determine your risk.
  2. Reduce your stress levels. If you visited this blog at all in April then you know I talked about Stress reduction. Stress is a huge risk factor for High Blood Pressure and learning to control it is vital. Check the archives to learn about managing Stress. A Health Coach can help you. Check out my 30 day coaching plan. One thing I have discussed recently is that pain is a definite stressor and having adequate pain management is vitally important. Talk to your doctor if you have pain! Come back later this week to read about what annoyed me in the news today on the topic of Stress.
  3. Be Active. Exercise has been proven to help prevent and reduce blood pressure. However, be careful if you are new to exercise or have an underlying illness. I have CKD and recently I have started running. I have also noticed that my blood pressure has creeped up in that time when it was very well managed without medication. My doctor OK’d this increase in intensity, but I have gone back to low impact and the fat burning zone to see if it makes a difference in my blood pressure. I check my blood pressure most days of the week using a manual cuff and stethescope. I keep a log for my doctor to review.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Now I know there is controversy around what is healthy and what is not. Lower sodium, lower fat and less processed foods I think most could agree would be healthy. Adding fruits and veggies is always going to be healthier than eating fast food, or otherwise less healthy food options.
  5. Eat less salt. This kind of goes with #4. Talk to your doctor but most experts on this topic, if you search it, say 1800 mg per day is all you should be getting for most people. Back in the day when I worked on a Cardiac Unit is was 2000 mg per day. So, it has decreased over the years.
  6. Limit your alcohol. I did a whole post on portion distortion alcohol and I think it is plain that most people do not understand the serving size of alcohol. If you are a man you should not drink more than 2 servings a day, and only 1 serving a day if you are a woman.
  7. Stop smoking. I don’t think that really needs explaining.
  8. Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine is found in coffee, some teas, energy drinks, chocolate and possibly other products I am not aware of. Not everyone is sensitive to caffeine raising their blood pressure, but if you consume a lot of it you might want to consider cutting back.
  9. Monitor your blood pressure. This really isn’t a lifestyle change, but more of a habit you should get into. Even if you are young and healthy regular monitoring of your blood pressure is a good idea. Even if you only have it checked every few months. If you are already at a high risk of getting High Blood Pressure, or already have it, monitoring your blood pressure is vitally important. You may not even know it is high, like for me, because you might have no symptoms. Even the smallest increases in blood pressure can have negative effects on the body, especially if the blood pressure goes unnoticed that it is high.
  10. Find a support team. This should include your doctor, family, friends, a Health Coach. Anyone who can help you adjust your risk factors. It is not easy making lifestyle changes, trust me I know, but doing it can prolong your life, prevent diseases, or complications from diseases.


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hypertension, high blood pressure, Hbp! What is it?

Hello, hello! I am so happy you are here. May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month here on Health Buddy Melissa. In March I focused on Kidney Disease, and in April Stress. You can read all of those posts in my archives. There is some great information there.

So, what exactly is blood pressure anyways? Blood pressure simply put is a measurement of force put on your arteries when your heart beats. There are three things that affect your blood pressure Cardiac Output, Volume, and Resistance.

What is a normal Blood Pressure? In 2017 the guidelines changed which increased the number of people diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. While normal is still considered 120/80, the new guidelines suggest that a number over 130 warrants treatment with medication. Now of course there is some controversy, because now 45% of the USA population can have a diagnosis of Hypertension. Apparently this made a lot of people angry. But, there is good evidence to show that a blood pressure greater than 130/80 increases the risk of several health issues like Stroke, Heart Attack, Enlarged Heart, Kidney Disease, Male Sexuality Issues, and even Eye issues. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am not a jump on the medication wagon kind of girl. There are other ways to lower blood pressure that does not include medications. That does not mean I am anti medication. If you need medication take it! All through the month of May I will be discussing High Blood Pressure and ways to lower it and prevent it. As we age Blood Pressure naturally rises due to the aging effects on the body.

Maybe you are young and you don’t think this is an issue for you. Think again! According to stats collected by the CDC in 2016 people in the age group 18-39 had a prevalence of HBP of 7.5%, 40-59 was 33%, and age 60 and over 63%. Age 40 is not that old and 1/3 of the population had HBP. Statistically more men than women had HBP. It varies between races and economic statuses as well.

When you go to the doctor your blood pressure may be higher than it normally is. A lot of times it is just because of general nervousness. But, it can be a reason for concern. A simple electronic blood pressure machine can be purchased to check your blood pressure daily and keep a log. In your log note the arm you took the blood pressure in, and time of day. Try to take your blood pressure the same time each day for consistent readings. Do not take your blood pressure right after exercising, after eating, if you are excited or scared until you can be calm. Also make sure you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor, and legs or ankles not crossed. Your arm should be relaxed and at or below heart level. Make sure you have a proper fitting cuff. If you have a big arm be sure and buy a machine with a larger cuff. A Pharmacist can help you pick the right size cuff for your arm.

Always be honest with your doctor, and yourself, of any symptoms or high blood pressure readings you may have. Denying, or ignoring a problem will not prevent any of the health issues I mentioned above.

If you would like to work with a Health Coach to set SMART goals for lifestyle changes, and exercise to help lower or prevent HBP, check out my 30 day coaching plan.

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It’s Your heart Attack! Dealing with difficult people

Welcome to Thinking on Thursday! As I complete my Mindfulness Certification it becomes more clear that the only way to deal with difficult people is to control our own responses. There are difficult people everywhere. I would say in the work environment is where you would encounter difficult people the most. But, it can also be in families, friends, or just in the general public. There are two videos below. The first one is very good in talking about why we should learn to deal with difficult people. He very frankly states because it is your heart attack. We have all heard the phrase, stress kills. Stress management is a very important skill to have. Stress manifests in other ways besides a Heart Attack. Stress can cause stomach pains, ulcers, headaches, high blood pressure, missed work days, productivity issues and so much more.

Difficult people are everywhere. I encounter them all the time at work. I have been a nurse for 34 years and I have worked with all types of personalities. But, one must also take into account that they themselves may be a difficult person. I know I can sometimes be perceived as difficult, because I am persistent and ask questions. But, I am not trying to be difficult. I am just looking for answers to whatever I am passionate about at the time. I have had to learn to control this behavior of my own to build better and stronger relationships. Self awareness is the first step to any good relationship. Sometimes it is just an immaturity issue and other times it is a personality, domineering, manipulative type of issue.

So, what makes a person a difficult person?

1- It is all about them. They tend to be dramatic, loud, demanding and yes persistent. They tend to be the person who shares their whole life story, and it is similar to a soap opera. The whoa is me, poor me, type of person.

2- They never give favors without payback. They will always expect something in return for a good deed. There is no random acts of kindness for this type of person.

3- They live in a pity party. This goes back to the poor me, whoa is me, type of person. They are always a victim if you will. They are very skillful at manipulating others.

4- They whine, complain and gossip. This type of person is never going to be happy no matter what you do. I am sure you know at least one type of this person. They are in everyone’s business and make it a point to gather information from everyone, and anyone. They will later use any info gathered for their own advantage. This is a truly toxic type of person.

5- Last but not least the person who lives in their own little world of make believe. There is little reality to how they perceive the world.

Now, with all that said all of us can fit into these labels at one time or another in our lives. We can all be difficult and it all comes down to how we perceive the world and others, and then react to those perceptions.

So, how to deal with difficult people and avoid the stress, tension, conflict and yes even a Heart Attack?

1- Be self aware to how you are reacting to the person that is being difficult. Take note of your heart rate, breathing pattern, sweatiness, tension or any other reactions you are feeling. Take a deep breath and clear your thoughts. Be sure you are not making it worse by your reactions. This is hard, I know. How we react to people is just as important as their behavior.

2- If you need to take a time out, or walk away, do so. You can say I will be back in a minute. Or if it is something you can just walk away and ignore do so.

3- Deflect or distract away from the behavior or conversation.

4- Restate back to them what they are saying, but in a different way. Such as I am sorry you feel like, whatever it is. Or did I offend you when I did this? What have I done to offend you? Etc Good communication keys are vital to any relationship.

5- Try to see their point of view, or perspective, without agreeing with them if it is something you can not agree with.

6- Ask them to consider a time out, or walk away, if they continue to escalate.

7- Set boundaries and stick to them. This is especially difficult in the work place. I am often told I am not friendly enough at work because I do not share my family life beyond basics with anyone. I believe work relationships be exactly that work relationships, not personal relationships. This just keeps the boundaries clear especially if you are in a management, or supervisory role. My coworkers know they can talk to me about anything they need help with, but that it will be professional, not personal.

8- Don’t be part of the problem. What do I mean? If a difficult person has provoked you or said things about you, don’t retaliate. Don’t return their favor by doing the same. If you are being harassed, or bullied, however, then you need to follow the chain of command at your work place and make sure it is in the written record.

The two videos below are excellent and further explore this issue. Never think that you are not being difficult too. It often goes both ways.

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Portion distortion: Alcohol

Updated 5/4/2021 So ya’ll know it is New Year’s this week, right? While most people may not have, or go to a party, they might choose to have a small family event at their homes. Below you will see a ton of videos on alcohol and how it effects the body. Because, I have CKD and I focus on that a lot, I will talk about that in relation to alcohol. A portion of various alcohols is equal to 1 beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits which I assume means whiskey, brandy, etc. The link below will explain all of that better than I can. My point only is that 2 drinks is considered drinking in moderation. Alcohol can have very negative effects on the kidneys, especially if you already have CKD. 1- Alcohol raises blood pressure and everyone who has kidney disease knows raising your blood pressure is a no no. 2- Alcohol dehydrates you which makes the kidneys work even harder than they already do, especially if you already have CKD. Alcohol can increase your chances of getting kidney disease too. Those few sentences are good enough reason to not over indulge on New Year’s or any other time. Also below you will find videos with recipes for non-alcoholic drinks. That Pina Colada sure looks like my new breakfast drink, lol. Loving your body is more important than having so called fun and abusing it. Stay safe!

Read more about portions or single serving sizes of alcohol,,which%20is%20about%2040%25%20alcohol If you would like to quit alcohol and find healthier alternatives to enjoying life and de-stressing use the contact form at the end of this blog post to message me, or you can email me at


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Portion Distortion: Bacon

Bacon! Everybody loves bacon! A staple for breakfast in the USA, but is it healthy and are you consuming the proper portion size?

I chose a popular bacon brand. I won’t share the name, but it is a common brand, non organic, and not low sodium or low fat. Before I talk about the portion size and what the label says, I read an article the other day that the organization that regulates food labels in the USA allows for up to 20% error in the actual nutrition info. So, keep that in mind when I go over the nutrition info.

The proper portion size of bacon is 2 strips, for this particular brand, but I have purchased some that say 3 strips. Of those 2 strips of bacon, there is 90 calories, but it could be as much as 108 calories per 2 slices. Fat per 2 slices is 7 g or 11% of your daily intake, but it could be as high as 8.5 g. 2 slices contains 13% of your saturated fat intake for a whole day, just 2 slices. Cholesterol is 20 mg but could be up to 24 mg. Sodium for those 2 slices is 350 mg per the label, but again can be up to 420 mg actually. Protein is 7 g for 2 slices, but with the margin of error could be 8.4 g per 2 slices.

If you are consuming more than the recommended portion size of 2 slices, you can easily figure out how much you will be consuming. This is just for breakfast. If you have CKD, High Blood Pressure, or Heart Disease, you can easily see how bacon can be your nemesis. Now don’t get me wrong I love a good BLT now and then. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy bacon in your diet. It just means you have to stick to the portion size on the label and account for it in your daily requirements.

If you would like to learn more about portion control, chronic disease management etc, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me. All new clients get their first month of coaching for just 25 dollars.


Foodie Friday: National Coffee Day!

Updated 12/102021

National Coffee Day is Sept 29th.  Do you love coffee?  Do you have Diabetes or CKD?  You may think you can’t have coffee.  You can still love your coffee, with some very careful choices.

  1.  If you have Heart Disease or HTN, use De-Caff instead of caffeinated coffee.
  2.  If you have high cholesterol levels, or Heart Disease choose low-fat milk or creamer.
  3.  If you have Diabetes choose a sugar-free non-dairy creamer.  A cinnamon stick adds a lovely sweet flavor and in some studies shows that it helps lower blood sugar.  Don’t add sugar to your coffee, use a sugar substitute if you must.  Milk due to the carbohydrates in it may raise your blood sugar levels.
  4. If you have CKD use one of the milk substitutes such as rice milk, soy milk, almond milk or non-dairy creamer options.  These will be lower in Phosphorus than milk options.  They do still have Phosphorus in them.  If you can find one without Phos in the ingredients those are the best choices.  Use these wisely, and don’t overdo.  It is very easy to get too much Phosphorus because it is not quantified on labels.
  5. Remember to always go by guidelines given to you by your doctor or Dietitian.  Some of these products may still have Sodium, Potassium, and Protein.  Using milk products will definitely have Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, and Protein.
  6. If you are stage 4 or 5 CKD, some of these options may be off your list altogether. Plus you may be on fluid restrictions. Speak to your Dietititan to be sure it is safe for you to have coffee.

Enjoy your coffee, and happy Friday!  Have an awesome weekend!  See you Sunday for Sweating on Sunday.  Use the contact form below to message me for available Health Buddy Melissa health coaching plans. You can check out my Walking Plan, and Meals With Melissa.



Salt, Salt, Everywhere Salt

It is National Kidney Awareness Month, so all of my posts for this month will be about the kidneys.  There are very specific ways to help reduce the risk of getting Kidney Disease, or if you already have it, like me, preserving the function of the kidneys.

If you have ever been to a doctor, they have probably told you to watch your salt, or sodium intake.  So, my very first tip is to know how much sodium you are actually consuming.  Processed, canned, even some frozen foods are very high in salt.  Salt is a preservative, so in order to make shelf foods last longer a lot of salt is added.  Learning to read labels and calculating how much salt you are consuming is super important.  Please keep in mind, even processed foods that say they are low in sodium, will most likely have something else added to it to replace the sodium.  Read all the ingredients, not just sodium levels.  This is especially important if you already have kidney disease.

Use salt replacements, spices, red wine vinegar, and lemon pepper seasoning to flavor food.  I am going to just let you know, a tiny bit of lemon pepper seasoning goes a long way.  You don’t need much for the food to be delicious.  The brand I buy does have a little bit of sodium in it, so be mindful when buying it.  I use red wine vinegar when cooking meat in place of oil, or butter.  It has a lovely salty flavor, but no salt.  Rice vinegar is also a mild vinegar with great flavor.  Note that salt substitutes, like Mrs Dash, is very high in potassium, so use it sparingly especially if you have an issue with potassium levels.  Do not forget the human body needs salt to survive.  It can not be eliminated altogether or sickness will occur.  Salt aides in regulating blood pressure, among other things.  Sodium, and Potassium work together to maintain this balance.  One tip I read was if one was going to consume a high sodium diet, to have some potassium with it.

So, how much salt is needed.  I was shocked to learn that 6GM is the recommended amount for normal people to consume.  That is 6,000 mg of salt!  The average person consumes closer to 8,000 mg every day.  If you want to prevent kidney disease, even reducing the salt in your diet to 6,000 mg would be a good start.  4,000 mg would be even better, and if you have kidney disease already 2,000 mg would be awesome.  I try to follow 1800 to 2000 mg per day.

Learn to cook, avoid eating out, buy fresh, or organic foods.  Yes, organic is more expensive, but it will reap the benefits in health.  We are not fully organic yet, but we are working towards that goal.  Organic foods, even in a jar, or box, generally have less sodium, at least that is my findings.  Things like spaghetti sauce, which I have no desire to make my own, has less sodium when I buy organic.  I can not stress enough learning to cook.  You will learn exactly how much of everything you are putting in there.  Eating out is awesome, it is a great family time event in our house.   But, it is something we do occasionally, not frequently.  If you have older children, or spouses can take turns cooking.

If you would like to meet your salt reduction goals, message me for a free health assessment and then we will discuss via email. You can comment on this post or message me using the contact form below.

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