Aging & Health A to Z
Lifestyle & Management
Older adults should drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially during hot weather or when there is no air conditioning. Even if you do not feel thirsty, make sure you are drinking enough, since the sensation of thirst becomes weaker with age. In people who have dementia, stroke, or other brain disorders, the feeling of thirst becomes particularly unreliable.
Keep a supply of fresh water close at hand and make sure water is available to hospitalized older people and those in long-term care residences.
If you have a kidney disease, follow a diet that has been devised for you by a renal dietitian and restrict your intake of protein, phosphorus, and other substances if necessary.
If you have additional risk factors (such as: diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease), you may improve your kidney condition and overall health while preventing complications if you
- follow a low fat diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fiber
- lose weight
- stop smoking
- avoid simple carbohydrates and sugars and monitor blood glucose carefully if you have diabetes
- aim to keep your blood pressure under control
- try to exercise as much as possible.
Chronic kidney disease is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, and strokes. Controlling your kidney disease will lower your risk for these serious cardiovascular events.
Malfunctioning kidneys also put you at higher risk of:
- anemia (not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through your body)
- high blood pressure
- reduced ability to carry out daily functions
- numbness in feet and hands (neuropathy)
- worse general quality of life.
Updated: May 2012
Posted: May 2012