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Kidney Diseases Are “Silent” Killers, And Can Develop At All Ages

Kidney Diseases Are “Silent” Killers, And Can Develop At All Ages

Compared with other illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, kidney disease receives relatively little attention in the media and society at large. This is unfortunate because kidney diseases often come with few early warning signs. Furthermore, they can develop at any age.

On an average, one in ten people suffers from kidney damage at some point in their lives. This means that we all need to take kidney health more seriously and take as many preventative measures as possible.

In this article, you will learn about one of the most commonly-diagnosed kidney diseases, and how you can ensure that your kidneys remain in good shape.

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What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

CKD is a fairly common condition in which one or both kidneys fail to work properly. It often goes unnoticed in the early stages. People are generally only diagnosed with CKD if a blood or urine test happens to be carried out for another purpose. During the later stages of CKD, a patient may feel tired, notice that their feet or hands are swollen, report feeling sick on a regular basis and see blood in their urine.

CKD can be caused by a variety of conditions that increase the kidneys’ workload. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure both demand that the kidneys work harder and this can result in long-term damage. Eventually, a person’s kidneys may show signs of greatly impaired functioning or may even stop working altogether. CKD is also linked to other negative health outcomes such as stroke and heart attack.

How to Treat Chronic Kidney Disease?

There is currently no cure for CKD. Instead, the emphasis is placed upon symptom management and retaining a good quality of life for the patient wherever possible.

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In the cases of severely reduced kidney functioning, it may be necessary for a patient to receive regular kidney dialysis (in which a patient’s blood needs to be diverted through a machine to be cleaned because the kidneys can no longer perform this vital function) or even a kidney transplant. These measures can be inconvenient and financially costly.

However, many patients can gain control over their CKD and provided they take care of themselves can expect to lead relatively normal lives.

How can Kidney Disease be Prevented?

Fortunately, you can lower your risk of CKD and other kidney diseases by striving to live a healthy lifestyle. Since kidney disease is often the result of the kidneys being forced to work harder due to the presence of another chronic disease, it is a good idea to focus on the commonly recommended lifestyle strategies that keep the body in a state of overall health.

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1. A Healthy Diet:

Diet plays a key role in the prevention of kidney problems and other major illnesses. Base your diet around vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains. Take care not to exceed recommended government levels of sugar, saturated fat and salt. DaVita, an organization for kidney patients and those keen to learn more about kidney health, has some great free recipes you can check out on their site.

2. Reduced Alcohol Intake:

Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day, and try to abstain entirely for one or two days each week.

3. Quit Smoking:

Do not smoke. If you are finding it hard to cut down on cigarettes, contact your doctor for advice on how to quit smoking.

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4. Regular Health Checkups:

It is also important to get any other health conditions under control. For example, if you have high blood pressure it is vital that you attend regular check-ups as recommended by your healthcare provider and remain diligent in taking any medication you are prescribed.

5. Regular Moderate Exercise:

Finally, exercise has been shown to prevent or improve many chronic conditions. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every week. Find a sport or workout style you enjoy, as this means you are more likely to stick to your new schedule.

Not only will you reduce your risk of CKD, but you will also give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding other long-term conditions that commonly afflict people in the western world such as diabetes and heart disease.

Featured photo credit: flanderstoday.eu via flanderstoday.eu

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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