Kidney Class Week 1

This topic will fall on each Wednesday. I had a long workday yesterday and had errands to run, so I was too tired to put together a post last night. This new kidney class will be in a section all by itself so it is easy to find as I add new information each week. There are 65 total slides and they are the copyrighted information for American Kidney Fund. So, please don’t take them and use them without permission. I am an AKF Kidney Coach and I have just completed the newly updated class that focuses a lot on prevention. I decided to leave the old slides on this blog because they are not bad information. If you would rather take the whole class with me all at once, rather than wait for weekly posts, you can email me at and I will work with you to set that up.

A little background in case you are new here and you would rather not read through 4 years of posts. I have CKD. I have managed to get myself back to stage 2 with lifestyle and diet changes. Zetia may or may not have helped as well, as I was hovering just below stage 2 before I began taking that in October of last year. I wish I knew more about prevention for CKD, or if someone put it in my face more often. While I am a nurse, we often tend to not take care of ourselves while we take care of everyone else. I would say parents, and anyone who works a job would fall under this category as well. We are always busy, always going, and often don’t take time to care for ourselves. Prevention of CKD takes a Mindful attitude to what we eat, how we relax if we exercise, and so much more.

While it is true once you have CKD, you always have it. There is no cure. However, it is possible to prevent it, slow its progression of it, and even possibly improve it though most doctors will say that really isn’t possible.

These first two slides are really just an introduction and some topics for you to think about. See if you know off the top of your head the answers to these questions. I dropped my phone and it has a crack on the screen so the images have a funny mark through them.

Here are the questions.

  1. What are kidneys and what do they do?
  2. What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
  3. What are ways to prevent CKD and Kidney Failure?
  4. What are treatments for Kidney Failure?

My disclaimer for this set of topics is as follows. This information belongs to AKF. I have been given permission via becoming a Kidney Coach to facilitate and share this information with you. I can add my own personal experiences with CKD and thoughts. It is intended to educate and inform. It is not intended to be medical or nutritional advice.

I would love to hear from you. Your input makes these classes all the better. Share your thoughts, concerns, etc. If you have CKD or love someone who does, share your experience. I do moderate comments, but all valid comments and questions will be allowed.


Kidney Class Week #13

Hello, and welcome back! Have you been following along? I missed last week because we had family in from out of state and I was at the beach. You can find all previous weeks in the archives. This Kidney Class is the property of the American Kidney Fund, for which I am a volunteer Kidney Coach. Before Covid, I would present the whole class in group sessions in person. I was given permission to share the information here on this blog with my life experience, as someone with CKD, and my nursing background. Just like I would in person. Plus, now it is always here, and anyone can read it for years to come, forever even. I encourage you to ask me questions in the comments, or if you would rather it be private you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@healthbuddymelissa

This week for slide #13 is still talking about blood pressure and kidney disease. The last class was more about how high blood pressure can cause kidney disease, whereas this week it is about how kidney disease can actually cause high blood pressure. The kidneys are complicated organs and do way more than most people realize. One of the functions of the kidneys is to regulate blood pressure by reabsorbing sodium, producing renin, and managing water in the body.

Personally, I am right at the cusp of being considered high blood pressure. This is strange because my kidneys have improved back to stage 2. However, I may be consuming more salt than I should, and I know I don’t drink enough when I am at work. That is one of the reasons I refuse to work full time is because I can’t just stop and constantly drink water. I can’t have water at my med cart in the facility I currently work, so it just is not healthy for me. I know when I am dehydrated because I will get a headache, and almost every time I work I get a headache. I also get cloudy urine, a sure sign of dehydration. If you have CKD or want to reduce your risk of getting it, keeping your blood pressure in good control is vital. I have a whole page of stuff just about blood pressure. You can read them here. There are probably others in the archives too.

Read the slide below, leave me a comment with your questions, and then check out this PubMed article on the topic of high blood pressure caused by CKD.

Only these slides are the property of AKF. All other posts on this blog, are mine unless otherwise stated.


Kidney Class: The Kidneys!

Hello, and welcome to the first slide in the AKF Kidney Class. Today, I will share what the kidneys do. I did a detailed post about this last year, and you can read it here. Please be sure and look at the image with the information about the kidneys on it.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, that are only about 5 to 6 inches long. They are located under your ribs behind the abdomen. They are vital organs to the human body. Their main job is to filter waste from your body. When they can’t filter waste properly it builds up in your blood, causing all kinds of problems. The kidneys are part of your Urinary System. You can actually live with only one kidney. You just have to be more cautious to protect the one you have. If both kidneys fail, Hemodialysis will become necessary. You can also opt for a kidney transplant, though that can take years. Preventing Kidney Failure should be the objective for everyone. We will delve more into this more in the weeks to come. So, be sure and bookmark, and or follow, so you don’t miss a topic.

I personally have one kidney that partially failed, my left one. It has always been my goal to preserve, and or improve the function of the left kidney, hopefully back to normal. If you follow this blog then you know that in 2021 I was able to get back to stage 2, improving my EGFR from 49 to 60. I did just have my bloodwork done for my most recent appt, and my EGFR was 57, just below stage 2. So, that means I am hovering right around stage 2, and I am thrilled about that. In the coming weeks, I will share pertinent things that I have done that I feel have helped me improve my kidney function. It does take hard work, persistence, and dedication to the goal at hand. That does not mean I don’t ever waver. That would be silly. No one is perfect nor can you try to be perfect. But, you can be persistent and that is awesome!

I am an American Kidney Fund Kidney Coach. This is completely volunteer and since Covid, I have not done any live classes. I was given the go-ahead to share the slides and information here, that I would normally share in a live class. Please feel free to participate in a good conversation by asking questions, leaving comments, or reaching out to me via the contact form. I do moderate all comments, as there are so many spammers out there, so your comment may not appear for a couple of days. This is different than my Health Coach plans. They are my side hustle and the AKF has no connection to them.

Does blood pressure cause kidney disease, or does kidney Disease cause high blood pressure?

Hello, and Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is well. It is a beautiful day here today in Florida. I got to get my vegetable and fruit seeds started, and some other gardening done as well. I am hoping tomorrow to do yard work and a few other outdoor things.

Keeping with the theme of Kidney Disease this month, here is a question for you. Does High Blood Pressure cause Kidney Disease, or does Kidney Disease cause High Blood Pressure? Well, actually it can be both, but the two most causes of Kidney Disease are Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. High Blood Pressure effects the kidneys because of the tiny blood vessels that get hardened and less able to do their job. Much like in the heart, where the blood vessels of the heart can get hard and less effective due to High Blood Pressure. As blood pressure increases the kidneys can lose function. Controlling your blood pressure is one of the best things you can do for preventing and or slowing the progression of Kidney Disease. The video below will help to explain blood pressure and kidneys. Two things he said at the end I would really like to stress to my readers. The first thing he said is that the best, and easiest thing you can do for your blood pressure is to start using the DASH Diet. I talked about the DASH Diet last week. You can read it here. The second thing he said that really caught my attention is that the places that Americans over consume salt is in breads and dairy. Think about that. Bread and dairy are the two biggest ways we are consuming excess salt. I don’t really drink milk, but I do eat about an ounce of cheese usually daily. I don’t eat a lot of bread, either.

Please note that having a low blood pressure is also dangerous. Please do not make drastic changes to your diet, without being followed by your doctor, especially if you take blood pressure medications. Simply communicate with your doctor of the things you would like to change, and then ask to be monitored and followed for any issues that may arise.

I am giving away free coaching sessions in March, relating to Kidney Disease. Read about it here.

Read about my kidney update here.


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free kidney education class

You may have read my previous post on this topic back over the Summer. I was doing group classes using Facebook Events. One class went real well and the others not so great. It was a pain waiting for people to come late and then they were behind, and it was confusing to others. So, from here on out I will do the Kidney Class by appointment only. This should be one person, or maybe a family to who can all share the same screen and read at the same time.

I am an American Kidney Fund Kidney Coach. This is a volunteer position, hence why it is free, and it is their material. I add my life experience as someone living with CKD and my experience as a nurse to the class. This is not medical advice and is in no way intended to replace medical care. It is kind of boring, but I try to make it interesting as possible. You must have Facebook Messenger to take this class with me. That is my platform of choice at this time. It can take about an hour and a half to get through the class, with comments and discussion. Be sure to allow yourself about 2 hours to be safe. This class is meant for people who are at high risk of developing kidney disease such as people with Diabetes or Hypertension, people who already have kidney disease, or they have a loved one who has kidney disease. I will try to use the voice function if it will work and read the slides to you, but you must be prepared to read on your own and let me know when you are done reading and if you have questions. It goes one slide at a time. I only speak and understand English. I can be flexible with dates and times. If you are interested in signing up for a Free Kidney Education Class you must use the contact form below to message me with Kidney Class in the subject line. I will contact you to find what dates and times are good for you. I will not try to sell you anything during this course. If after the course you are interested in working with me as a Health Coach you can inquire about my services.


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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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