National Kidney Month 2023!

Welcome to National Kidney Month 2023.

As you know I am passionate about kidney health and I finally just completed the updated version of the AKF Kidney Health Coach classes. I actually was pleased to see that the new classes focus a lot on the prevention of getting Kidney Disease and preventing CKD from progressing to Kidney Failure. I think this class will be much more effective for people to understand and get information from. So, you will start seeing me share the information on this blog, and people can request to do the class with me if you don’t want to wait for each slide to get shared. More about that later.

All this month, not every day, because I have other topics I like to share, but I will be sharing information from various kidney groups to highlight National Kidney Month.

My second exciting update is that I have finished my Medical Billing and Coding Classes, and now am ready to take the certification exam. I say ready, but there are a few more areas I would like to refresh my memory on before taking the certification exam. The exam can take up to 5 hours, which is hard for many reasons. I will be talking more about Medical Coding and Billing in relation to me as a nurse in future posts.

That is it for now. Come back tomorrow to see what I share.

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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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National kidney month: Better food choices

March is National Kidney Month and each Thursday I will be sharing some older posts to help you make better food choices to prevent Kidney Disease and may also slow the progression of Kidney Disease. If you read my post from Monday then you know I have gotten back to stage 2 and I am so excited about that. That doesn’t mean I can slack off. I want it to stay there. Strict eating lifestyles are very hard to stick with and you will have days, or weeks where you fall off the wagon and need to get back on. But, in the long run all that hard work will hopefully pay off. One of my main reasons for becoming a Health Coach, and starting this blog, is to raise awareness about Kidney Disease both prevention and treatment. If I am able to help even one person than I am happy.

  1. I have probably talked about this ad nauseum by now, but decreasing your salt intake is one of the healthiest things you can do for your kidneys. I have to add for your heart and blood pressure as well. The typical Western Diet has way too much added salt, or sodium. The two best ways to do this are learn to cook at home with lots of different spices to add flavor instead of salt, and reduce your processed/fast food intake. Learning to read labels and takeout menus will make you more aware of exactly how much sodium is in a serving and what a serving is. 140 mg of sodium, or less per serving, is considered acceptable. Just be sure to stick to a serving. Here are some of my articles on sodium:, Using vinegar on your food can add the flavor of salt without salt. The same is true for lemon juice. Try to use unsalted butter if you must choose butter.
  2. Reduce the amount of fat you are eating and use proper portion control. This is good for heart health as well as kidney health. Again, I go back to cooking at home and avoiding processed/fast food options as the best ways to help lower your fat intake. But, you have to be aware of other ways fats can sneak in in subtle ways, such as gravy, sauces, butter, cooking oil, etc. Maintaining a healthy body weight can also come under this tip. Losing weight when you already have kidney disease can be very difficult due to the metabolic issues associated with it. Likewise if you are underweight, gaining weight may be your goal to help your kidney disease, your heart, and your brain. Choosing lower fat options of dairy products is optimal. Just be sure and check how much sugar is added because fat was removed, especially if you have Diabetes. Here are some of my articles on this topic:,,,,,,,
  3. If you already have Kidney Disease, Heart Disease, or Diabetes, know your limits and follow them. Keep a food journal to help you keep track. I use my Fitbit to keep track of my calories, fat intake, and protein intake. I have also added a sodium tracker, though I don’t use it as much as I used to. You kind of will get used to how much salt is in what foods. I use an app called Nutrition Facts to get a better understanding of how much Phosphorus is in certain foods. It took me four years to finally figure out how much protein my body needed to function at optimal level but still protect my kidney. I don’t have Potassium restrictions, but if you do that same app I shared can help you. There are some other kidney apps but I did not find them user friendly. If you don’t have a smart phone the website Eat This Much, a pen and paper can help you journal what you eat and how much.

There are many other articles in my archives, besides the ones I shared. Browse through them and see if there is anything that can help you. If you would like to learn more about my Health Buddy Melissa Coaching Service, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free health assessment and evaluation after via email. Any questions can be posted in the comments, or again use the contact form.

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Weight Bearing Exercises

Updated 3/3/2023

Osteoporosis is a common ailment as we get older, especially for women.  At the end of this article will be some sources for you to learn more about preventing Osteoporosis.  Keeping bones strong, and even possibly building new bone, takes weight-bearing exercises at a high enough impact.  I walk a lot, but I have to consider that it might not be enough to alleviate my risk of Osteoporosis, and bone injuries.

So, what are weight-bearing exercises?  Generally, any activity that your feet are having an impact on the floor, ground, or hard surface.   Walking, running, treadmills, elliptical machines, aerobics, and dancing, are all considered weight-bearing activities.  Swimming, gardening, bike riding, etc are non-weight-bearing activities, though still very good for you as they build strength, balance, and burn calories. Walking and elliptical machines may not be intense enough to be effective, but if you can get the intensity high enough it can work, like adding inclines or going faster.  While all of these activities can address the bones in the lower body, you have to consider the bones in the upper body.

That is where weight lifting and exercise bands come in.  Now, I am not talking about lifting super heavy weights, light dumbbells, exercise bands, or tubes will work.  I am not sure if Isometric exercises would be effective for bone growth, but they are great for toning for people who may not be able to tolerate lifting weights.  All of the bones need weight-bearing exercises.

These exercises may not be healthy for everyone.  You should always discuss this with your healthcare provider to be sure, and they may recommend a Physical Therapy evaluation if you already have bone issues, or are at risk.  Don’t injure yourself!  That is what you are trying to prevent.  Always remember everyone is different, and not one blanket statement or program will work for all people.

Exercising with a buddy may help motivate you. If you like to walk you can volunteer at a local animal rescue or shelter to walk dogs. Williston Animal Group is always in need of volunteers. You could even adopt a dog and have a walking buddy every day.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. Nothing on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advise. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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How Does Salt Effect Kidneys?

Brr it is freezing here in FL, today.  No walk for me this morning, but I did do an old aerobic video that was one of my favorites way back in the 90’s.  I will share that in a later post.

As promised, today I would talk about Salt and how exactly it effects the kidneys.  As I mentioned before all humans need some Salt, or Sodium, in their diet for survival.  Most of us, however, consume way more than is needed.  If you are risk for kidney disease, or already have it, then you know you should be consuming a lower salt diet.  I personally feel like anyone can be at risk for kidney disease, and everyone should be consuming less salt.   Unless of course someone already follows a lower salt diet.

Sodium, works along with Potassium to maintain fluid balance in the body. Through a process called Osmosis, Sodium and Potassium pull fluid across the wall.  The fluid comes out of the bloodstream, across the wall, and into collecting channels in the kidney.  Too much Salt, or Sodium,  inhibits this process decreasing the amount of fluid that is removed from the bloodstream, causing Hypertension.  Hypertension can then cause an a decrease of kidney function, by putting strain on the kidney to work harder.  This is a very basic way of explaining how Osmosis works for kidneys.

Something I did not know, but learned while researching this topic, is that higher Sodium levels causes Protein levels in the urine to be elevated.  So, just by lowering Sodium intake Proteinuria can improve.  Having Protein in the urine is not normal, and is an indicator of possible kidney disease. Even though most kidney stones are caused by Calcium, increased Sodium also can be a cause of kidney stones.

As stated in my previous post the maximum daily amount of Sodium is 6GM, or 6,000 mg.  That is quite a bit of salt, but still most people consume closer to 8 GM, or 8,000 mg and still more for some people.  I know it sounds like everyone in the health field is nagging about this, but if you just do some research and see how it effects the body, it might help to convince you.

I didn’t think I was consuming too much Salt.  But, once I started actually calculating it out, my goodness.  Plus, I feel better now that I have reduced my Salt intake.  Remember, I have stage 3 CKD, and I am working hard at getting my kidney function back to stage 2.  I definitely can tell the difference between a high Salt day, and a low Salt day.  Try it and see the difference in how you feel when you become mindful of what you are consuming.

March is Kidney Awareness Month.  Love your kidneys, get checked, lower your risks.  The sooner you know the better, trust me.

If you would like more info about controlling the Salt you consume, or to meet your Salt intake goals, message me using the contact form below, for a free email health assessment and conversation when done via email.

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Image below is from the National Kidney Foundation.