I Used To Suffer Chronic Kidney Disease:
Finding out I had chronic kidney disease – CKD – was only the start of it.
Realizing that CKD is really difficult to treat… and that it inevitably gets worse was shocking.
I faced ending up on a dialysis machine. Hoping and praying for a suitable kidney donor.
And losing years off the end of my life because with CKD… there’s no way out.
As my doctor showed me, all this has now changed. CKD is not the life sentence it once was.
And as I found out myself, he was absolutely right. Today chronic kidney disease for me is a distant memory..!
I used to believe that once you had chronic kidney disease then that was it… you were pretty much stuck for life.
I thought there was not much you could do – except tweak it as best you can and hope to goodness that it didn’t get worse.
Maybe you’ve heard the same.
I really believed it too.
But I don’t anymore.
Because of something my doctor showed me I now know there’s an awful lot you can do to manage CKD – and what you can do turned out to be literally life-changing.
CKD isn’t a life sentence
I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease – CKD – just over 2 years ago.
My doctor explained that there is a number of reasons why we get CKD. But it was always caused by something else that was already going wrong in the body.
Diabetes, heart disease, various cardiovascular diseases, being very overweight, and so on. They can all cause CKD.
High blood pressure was the cause of my CKD.
Your CKD may have a different cause. But the result is the same.
My doctor told me that chronic kidney disease can’t be tackled directly. Instead, doctors address the diseases that cause it in the first place.
Which, for me, meant tackling my blood pressure problem.
It might be a different fight for you depending on what’s causing your own CKD.
But whatever the cause, the strategy is the same: alleviate the problems of the CKD itself while addressing the underlying disease that is causing the CKD in the first place.
Unfortunately, using standard methods CKD can – and often does – get progressively worse. As it gets worse it becomes a significantly more threatening disease.
There was no way I could just accept that. No way.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to accept it. I did something else instead.
Which has meant that these days I can’t remember what CKD even feels like anymore.
But before I jump ahead of myself, let me make this important point.
Chronic Kidney Disease – the 5 stages
My doctor taught me something very worrying about CKD.
The disease has 5 stages. Stage 1 is the mildest.
Stage 5 is as serious as it gets.
Stage 5 can shorten a person’s life by many, many years.
You do not want to reach stage 5.
A slippery slope to stage 5
My CKD was at stage 3 when it was discovered. Most of us only discover our CKD when it’s already well underway.
The danger here is that CKD gets progressively worse. Doctors find it very difficult to halt CKD’s progress into stages 4 and then 5.
At stage 5 you are plugged into a dialysis machine. You hope and pray for a suitable kidney donor so that you can squeeze some more years out of life… before finally succumbing.
Well, no thanks.
Dialysis machines and kidney transplants were not for me.
I didn’t care that other people coped with being strapped to a dialysis machine for hours on end four or five times a week.
That’s them. It’s not me.
And I didn’t care that, for people lucky enough to find kidney donors, better transplant techniques meant that they weren’t dying so quickly afterwards.
As far as I was concerned… once you reach the kidney dialysis machines and transplant stage your days are numbered.
Again: no thanks.
I had – and still have – many years of life ahead of me.
And I wanted those years to be healthy, happy, enjoyable.
Not ill, diseased… watching my clock run down.
This wasn’t the life I wanted
I felt very low, to be honest.
My doctor gave me the standard spiel: we can handle the symptoms, we can try to address underlying causes… with the right meds you could lead a fairly normal life. And so on.
I told him this wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want my life cut short with a disease that – at least officially – had no way of being reversed.
I didn’t want to watch myself deteriorate week by week. I didn’t want to be plugged into a dialysis machine. I didn’t want a transplant.
And I didn’t want to die early.
I was very upset. I didn’t know what to do next.
But I didn’t want to just do nothing.
There is an alternative – and it’s proven
I’ve known my doctor since college. He’s a trusted friend. He told me to come back at the end of the day and we could go for a coffee and a chat.
He had something important to tell me.
Well, what my doctor told me that afternoon was jaw-dropping.
He described how he’d witnessed five of his own patients treat their chronic kidney disease to the point that they now experienced none of its symptoms.
Here’s the thing: they had first treated the underlying cause – the condition that gave rise to their CKD in the first place. That had led to the melting away of both that condition’s symptoms and their CKD symptoms.
Which was staggering. We’re talking about diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity here…
He wouldn’t claim they no longer had the disease – professionally he’s not allowed to say that yet. Tests are still taking place, official verification is required – that takes years to complete.
But when one of his own patients attempted an alternative health approach to his chronic kidney disease… and by all measures, succeeded… my doctor couldn’t ignore that.
The effects weren’t temporary – they lasted.
My doctor explained that conventional medicine was still testing these new remedies. But ordinary people had jumped straight in and had been applying them for some years.
No drugs, no hospitals… and the results were fantastic.
I was excited and nervous when I heard this. But everything we discussed that day I went on to prove to myself.
Chronic Kidney Disease: the inside story
But before I jump ahead of myself let me tell you what else my doctor told me.
We’ve always known that CKD is caused by other conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, too much excess weight, and so on.
So it makes sense to tackle those conditions if we’re to address CKD.
Doctors tackle those conditions either by significantly reducing their effect on our bodies… or by successfully reversing them completely.
This much has been well understood for a long time.
We also know another vital element of the story: that the conditions I listed above – diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on – are often the result of low-level, ongoing inflammation in the body.
Those conditions are either made worse by this ongoing inflammation – or, more often, are directly caused by it.
Finally, we’re well aware that the inflammation itself is mostly caused by a faulty immune system.
In other words, our immune system is being triggered way too often.
Which leads to ongoing inflammation… which in turn overwhelms our bodies and creates damage throughout.
The pathway to disease
So… a faulty immune system… leads to widespread inflammation… which leads to one or more of the diseases mentioned. Which leads to CKD.
This is the pathway to disease.
But what causes the faulty, malfunctioning immune system in the first place?
What’s that initial trigger that sets off the whole thing?
That has always been a mystery. Yet if doctors could find out how to stop the immune system from malfunctioning then the inflammation, the disease, and the CKD… all goes away.
And now we know…
In the last few years, scientists finally found out.
The immune system malfunction that causes your chronic kidney disease comes from problems in the gut.
Yes, the gut.
We now realize that, incredibly, most of the western world’s major killer diseases begin in our guts.
This one insight has changed forever how scientists now tackle the disease.
And this isn’t theory, by the way. It’s not guesswork.
It’s heavily researched, scientific knowledge.
The details are straightforward
When we’re talking about your gut we’re not talking about bloating or stomach ache or anything like that.
We’re talking about the fascinating environment within your intestinal tract.
That environment – also called the microbiome – contains trillions of fantastically useful bacteria.
We’re used to thinking of bacteria as being harmful. But over 90% of the bacteria in a healthy gut perform functions that keep you alive.
They do things for you that your body itself simply cannot do.
When healthy gut bacteria dominate our guts – and unhealthy gut bacteria are kept to a minimum – we are at our healthiest and happiest.
When this balance is disturbed we get ill. If it’s disturbed for long enough, we get very ill.
Here are just a few functions gut bacteria carry out for us:
- They directly affect our moods and emotions
- They manage our growth from childhood to adulthood, to old age
- They strongly regulate our weight (food cravings come from bad gut bacteria, not greed!)
- They eliminate toxins that our body cannot handle, preventing an overwhelm of blood poisons
- They extract essential, life-preserving vitamins from the food that our body simply cannot access – and which we can’t survive without
Good bacteria literally keeps us alive. So we need it to be in the best shape possible.
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