Diet and exercise can cut down risk of kidney disease - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Diet and exercise can cut down risk of kidney disease

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

One study after another shows healthy eating and exercise can cut down on a lot of health complications, especially when it comes to kidney disease. Changing your diet can be difficult but it can also be life-saving. 

"It was a simple doctor checkup. They told me I had kidney disease and my kidneys were failing,” Kevin Hampton said.

Hampton immediately started dialysis and remained on it for almost 12 years before his transplant in June of 2013.

Dealing with dialysis was not easy. 

“It was just a mental adjustment I had to make. I wanted to live,” Hampton said.

Changing his diet was not easy either.

"I had to cut out all the bad foods and start eating the right foods,” Hampton said. “No salt, a lot of vegetables. Lean meats."

Renal dietitian Smitha Abraham says for dialysis to work properly and remove the toxins, patients must follow their diet.

"If they don't follow their diet and eat whatever and go according to the lifestyle they had before dialysis, it's going to compromise their bone health, compromise their heart health and compromise their eye health,” Abraham said.

The renal friendly diet does depend on the patient but generally includes fruits and vegetables, high protein, low sodium and low fluids.

"Healthy eating is basically watching your portion sizes. It's not a crash diet plan. You basically want all the food groups however you eat in moderation,” Abraham said.

This can be a big change but getting on the right path experts say can even help prevent the risk factors for kidney disease like high blood pressure and diabetes.

"My life changed overnight,” Hampton said.

When he was diagnosed with kidney disease he had to move back home with his parents. 

“It was depressing but I looked up one day and found that I was still here and it was just a mental adjustment that, Kevin, you still have some life. This is something you have to do," Hampton said. 

The transplant has given Hampton renewed independence and he says he tries to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"Exercise more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and routine doctor visits because things like this can be prevented," Hampton said. 

Copyright 2015 WIS. All rights reserved.

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