Q: My allergies are really bad in the spring. What medications are safe for the kidneys?
A: Most allergy medication should be safe for patients with chronic kidney disease. I would avoid medications that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. These medications can raise your blood pressure. You should always check with your physician to make sure that over the counter medication does not interfere with any other medication that you are taking.
Q: Recently there have been a lot of news articles about the link between eating out at restaurants and high blood pressure. I know that high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease, but I enjoy dining out so what can I do to protect my kidneys?
A: You are correct that high blood pressure is a leading cause of and risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease. Meals at restaurants – especially fast food restaurants – tend to be high in sodium and salt, which contributes to high blood pressure. When dining out, try to ask for your meals to be prepared without added salt. Before dining out, do your research. Visit the restaurant's website to see if they list the sodium content of various dishes served there. Also, when grocery shopping and buying packaged foods, it's important to make reading food labels a habit. Sodium content is always listed on food labels, so this can help you to choose foods low in sodium. If you're at risk for developing kidney disease, try to stick to the recommended limit of 1,500 mg to 2,400 mg of sodium per day. If you already have kidney disease, you may be trying to limit your sodium intake even more strictly. To protect your kidneys, I recommend following the DASH diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It is low in salt and sodium, added sugars and sweets, fat and red meats.