Take Control of Your Kidney Health with a Self-Coaching Mindset
Where do you feel safe and secure? What makes you feel out of control? How do these different situations affect your confidence? Your anxiety? Your ability to enjoy life?
The American healthcare system is not very good at providing control. So many people feel helpless in the exam room or forgotten in the hospital. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day demands of chronic conditions like kidney disease.
What can you do to take control of your kidney health?
The Empowered Kidney Care movement is about regaining control, hope, and optimism!
“We’re all working together towards one common goal: preserving your kidney function.”Dr. Richard Gibney
YOU are the key to better health
Modern healthcare professionals have gotten really good at treating problems — so good that they sometimes leave out the most important solution: the patient! At Empowered Kidney Care, we say, “the person with the problem must be involved in the solution.”
Your doctors can provide diagnoses, prescriptions, and instructions, but they can’t solve your problems for you. It’s up to you to take action and make smart decisions that will improve your health. A good doctor or nurse will act as your guide along the way, giving you tools and knowledge you need to be successful.
Adopting a self-coaching mindset
Keep in mind that success only comes when we are open to change. If your life is headed in the wrong direction, you can’t stay as you are. What do you need to “turn the ship around”? You need a new way of thinking — a new mindset!
1. Set clear goals
Preserving kidney function means better health and better quality of life. Do you want to walk your daughter down the aisle? Take your grandkids to Disneyland someday? Visualize those long-term goals to help you stay strong today.
2. Make a plan
Just as “Rome was not built in a day,” neither does anyone regain their health overnight. Work with your doctor(s) to make a clear plan with manageable, simple steps. Start by taking your medications, improving your diet, and getting a little exercise every day.
3. Keep learning
Ask questions and pay attention to the answers. Soak up all the knowledge you can! Ask your doctors what your lab results mean, and find out how to improve them. Ask what your medications do and how you can use them to feel better.
4. Practice, practice, practice
You don’t have to get everything right the first time. Self-coaching is all about continuous improvement. Keep trying, even when you fail, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Find the tricks that work for you.
5. Find tools to help you
Eventhe best coaches use tools: plans, charts, and clipboards to help them stay on track. Find the tools that work for you. Forgetting to take your medications on time? Set alarms to help build new habits. Having trouble staying motivated? Pin up a progress chart to help you visualize your health data (like weight, blood pressure, or blood sugar) over time.
6. Recruit your healthcare team
Surround yourself with people who care about you and want to help you be successful. Find a great primary care physician (your star quarterback) and any specialists you need (endocrinologist, cardiologist, nephrologist). Most importantly, find a “patient advocate” to provide support and encouragement throughout your journey.
7. Build relationships
Nobody should have to do life alone. Stay in touch with your healthcare team. Invest in relationships with patients who might be experiencing some of the same things you are. Take time to get to know people. Share your stories of success and failure. Often, patients’ core relationships include a spiritual relationship with God, “The Great Healer.” All things are possible through faith.
Regaining hope and optimism
Never give up! With the right knowledge, medication, and support, patients with kidney disease are making tremendous progress.
Thanks to empowered care and medications like SGLT-2 Inhibitors, many CKD patients are staying healthy and off dialysis. We’ve made so much progress in the last few years. There is hope!
Please subscribe for the latest news and resources from Empowered Kidney Care. You can also catch Dr. Gibney’s next live interview on DadviceTV to learn more about taking control of your kidney health. Watch and participate in live Q&A or view the recording after the broadcast.