Watch that salt! Five tips for keeping your sodium to a minimum

Watch that salt! Five tips for keeping your sodium to a minimum

There is one primary change we can all make to help keep our kidneys healthy and that is to cut the salt! A diet high in salt makes it harder for kidneys to remove toxins and excess fluid and when those build up in your body, your blood pressure increases. High blood pressure is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease. To help manage your blood pressure, your daily goal should be to consume less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium — your doctor may recommend even less. The good news is, there are many ways to keep salt to a minimum in your diet – and you don’t have to sacrifice taste one bit.

Five tips for keeping salt out of your diet

  1. Cook at home from scratch. Restaurant meals are often laden with salt. One of the best ways to lower your salt intake is to cook at home using fresh, unprocessed ingredients.
  2. Drain canned goods. Canned goods can make cooking easier but to preserve those foods, salt is added. Drain and rinse beans and other canned foods to remove added salt.
  3. Throw out packaged seasonings. It’s easy to add seasoning packs to foods without even thinking. But more often than not, these spice packs are loaded with salt. Instead, mix up your own spices to season meat or vegetables. We’ll even help get you started – try our American Favorite Spice Blend on meat, fish or in soups.
  4. Read the label. Before you purchase any foods from the grocery store, take a look at the nutrition label. Compare nutrition labels of similar products to find the one lowest in sodium.
  5. Keep a journal. It’s hard to keep track of the sodium you’re eating. One way to help monitor the salt in your diet is to write it down. After every meal, jot down the sodium you just consumed. This will help you see how much sodium you eat each day, and identify meals that are high and low in sodium — making it easier to meal plan the next time you go to the store.

Whether you have chronic kidney disease or not, paying attention to what you eat can have an enormous impact on your health. Talk to your dietitian or doctor to make sure you are following a diet that’s right for you. Stick with it and let us know how it goes! Share your experiences with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

5 simple exercises you can do anywhere

It’s a fact – exercising regularly provides so many benefits, especially for your physical and mental health. Most people, no matter your age, weight or existing health issues, feel better after exercise. People living with chronic kidney disease are no exception. But if you’ve never had a regular exercise regime, it’s important to ease into exercise very slowly. Starting out too strong can result in injuries and turn you off exercise, so talk to your doctor about creating an exercise plan that’s right for you.

Benefits of exercise

People that exercise often:

    • Have more enthusiasm and optimism.
    • Find it easier to handle stress and anxiety.
    • Feel stronger and less tired.
    • Sleep better.
    • Experience reduced muscle cramps and joint pain.
    • Have a better appetite and digestion.
    • Have an enhanced mental attitude.

Five exercise activities you can do at home

The good news: you don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym membership to exercise. There are many simple exercise activities that you can do from the comfort of your own home or neighborhood! Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Yoga. Yoga is a fantastic way to stretch muscles you might not even know need stretching. It’s also great for getting rid of stress, focusing on your breathing and being in the moment. There are great beginner yoga videos out there – search online to find one that suits you. There are also many yoga instructors that offer online classes for free or a small fee. Even just 10 minutes of yoga can make you feel more centered and relaxed. If your mobility is limited, search for ‘chair yoga’ – many yoga poses can be modified for limited mobility while sitting in a chair.
  2. Lift weights. Strength training not only builds muscle but it also provides a better range of motion and, if done correctly on a regular basis, can reduce the likelihood of injury. It’s also a great activity because it can be done anywhere. Start light – even a can of food in each hand will do.
  3. Garden. Here’s a win-win – gardening! Not only will you have some beautiful flower beds or vegetables at the end, you’ll get a workout in as well. Pulling weeds and planting seeds is a great way to use arm and back muscles. Just make sure not to overdo it – it’s easy to overextend yourself. Build up to longer stints in the garden over time. And make sure to invest in some kneeling pads – a great added comfort when weeding on your knees.
  4. Walking. Taking a walk allows you to not only get in some exercise but also breathe in some fresh air and be out in nature. If there are trails nearby, then head to the woods; if not, even a short few laps around your neighborhood offers you the chance to stretch your legs and get in a bit of cardio. Play a podcast or some tunes if you’re heading out solo, or get to know your neighbors by asking them to join you.
  5. Zumba®. For those who love to crank up the tunes while they workout, look no further than a Zumba® class! There are plenty of classes for free using Zoom so there’s no need to even leave your home. Zumba® is a great way to learn different styles of dance and get a workout in at the same time. It’s fun, lively and a great way to work up a sweat.

Remember, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re choosing activities that are right for you. Stick with it and you’ll likely start to feel the benefits of exercise after just a few sessions. Let us know how it goes! Share your experiences with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

A Note on Unity from the CEO:

Together, we are mighty. Please don’t ever forget that basic truth. Together, we are mighty!

As I reflect on our role as a nonprofit provider of health care for patients diagnosed with kidney failure, I want the patients to know, “it doesn’t matter what you look like, or your accent, you are worthy of our very best care, and we will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve as our fellow man and woman.” That is a solemn promise, one that I am proud to say PSKC lives daily.

Globally and nationally, the things that bind us together, primarily our common humanity, are so much stronger than our differences. As humans, we all want to be respected, treated fairly, but most of all, we want to love and be loved. There is nothing more basic than that feeling of loving someone or being loved.

Regardless of the color of our skin, the way we talk, or the place we were born, we all crave the social contract of caring for each other.

When we create this type of environment where joy and peace can thrive, that is when we are at our best. When we know that we are good to people, we are able to look in the mirror with satisfaction. It has been said, “a clean conscience is the softest pillow,” and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. When we know that we have treated people well, when we are “good” to someone, it makes us feel good inside.

So, let us all contribute to peace and prosperity for all. Every one of us has an opportunity to be part of the solution. Around the globe or in this country, looking and sounding different is something we should cherish. It’s something we should celebrate. I mean, think about it, who would want to eat the same food every night? Isn’t the variety, the different colors, tastes, and textures part of the dining experience? It’s no different with people. Let’s celebrate the various colors and sounds of our fellow man.

A celebration is in order!

Warmly and respectfully,

Harold Kelly​
President & CEO

April is National Donate Life Month: help spread the word about organ donation

All month, we’re helping raise awareness of organ donation and the power it has to literally change a life. National Donate Life Month is a great time to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and to celebrate the power that donation has on so many families in need. This year’s theme is centered around a springtime garden and how its ecosystem of plants, insects and other components work together – similar to how we can all work together to register as organ donors and raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

Register as an organ donor

Registering to be a donor is simple – just visit RegisterMe.org, fill out the form provided and let your friends and family know about your wishes to donate your organs when you pass away.

Consider becoming a living donor

More than 100,000 people in the United States alone are on the transplant list, waiting for an organ transplant from a deceased donor. Most of the people on the list are waiting for a kidney. The good news is, most of us were born with two! If people waiting for either a kidney and or liver transplant find a living kidney donor, they usually get a better quality organ much sooner. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a living donor, visit www.donatelifenw.org.

Help advocate for organ donation

What can you do now to support organ donation? Help us spread the word about it during National Donate Life Month! Check out Donate Life America’s infographic below and share these facts with your friends and family to raise awareness about the need for organ donation. And you can take part in the conversation about organ donation this month – join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Harned family: a tradition of giving

Within the first few moments of meeting Max Harned, you recognize an incredible energy and passion for life and community. Born and raised in Tacoma, Max credits his family upbringing with his passion for community. His late father, John Harned, and his Uncle Joe Harned, served in the military and settled in the Tacoma area. They each built successful businesses in Pierce County, and with that success they began a family tradition of helping the community through philanthropy.


We share the family traits of a remarkable work ethic and a commitment to education and giving back to the communities we live in.” –Max Harned


Max and Margi Harned at the Lakewood ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 3, 2019.

Their philanthropy has benefited many organizations, and the Harned family name graces prominent education buildings, programs and scholarships that benefit student education at the University of Puget Sound, St. Martin’s University, and Tacoma Community College. In addition to these educational projects, Max has recently extended his benevolence to include the Puget Sound Kidney Centers.

Max first learned about Puget Sound Kidney Centers when he was approached about selling his land for a new nonprofit dialysis center to be built in Lakewood. Recognizing the need and impressed with the mission of PSKC, he not only sold his property to PSKC, but he also decided to serve as volunteer, joining both the PSKC Foundation Board and the PSKC board.

Retired after a successful career in marketing, Max devotes time to being with his wife and family and to serving the community. In addition to his volunteer work with PSKC, he serves on the board of Tacoma Community College Foundation and the Board of Trustees for the King County Library system. When he presents to student groups, Max emphasizes the importance of philanthropy with a favorite quote by Sir Winston Churchhill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Today, he and his wife Margi, a former educator, jointly support the needs of the local community, recently funding a food pantry program at Tacoma Community College.


“Max and I are so very blessed. The best gift we can give is to share our blessings.” –Margi Harned


Max, Joe and Margi Harned testing out one of the Lakewood heated dialysis chairs that they helped raise money to purchase.

In this spirit of generosity, Max and Margi recently donated and raised funds for new heated dialysis chairs for patients at our new Lakewood dialysis center.

Thank you, Max and Margi, for all you do for the community!

You too can help make a difference in the lives of people with kidney disease. More than half of our patients are in need of financial aid. Financial gifts allow us to provide our patients with the additional support they need. Donations help support our charity care program and help us educate those at risk for kidney disease in our community. They also help ensure our clinics have state-of-the-art equipment, like heated dialysis chairs that bring added comfort to patients during dialysis.

Help support our mission to enhance the quality of life of those with kidney disease through outstanding dialysis care, education and community support.

Donate to Puget Sound Kidney Centers today.

Raise awareness of kidney health on March 12, World Kidney Day

Kidney health for everyone, everywhere is the theme of this year’s World Kidney Day, celebrated March 12 and a chance for all of us to remind ourselves of just how important these bean-shaped organs are.

 

What your kidneys do

Kidneys filter blood and remove waste. They also balance electrolytes, control blood pressure, produce red blood cells and help you maintain healthy bones, among other things.

One fifth of the blood pumped by your heart goes to the kidneys, where it is processed and filtered. Excess water, salt, minerals and waste are sent to the bladder as urine and ‘clean’ blood is returned to circulation. It takes just five minutes for all of your blood to be filtered by the kidney which means in 24 hours, your kidneys will filter all of your blood 288 times!

Most people are born with two kidneys, although you need just one functioning kidney to live a normal, healthy life.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

The good news is, you can do a lot to help your kidneys stay healthy.

1. Eat less salt. Foods high in salt make your kidneys work harder. Try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day. Eat out less (restaurant meals are loaded with salt) and instead, cook from scratch at home.

2. Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure causes kidney disease. Manage your blood pressure and get it checked regularly.

3. If you have diabetes, control your blood sugars. For more than 40 percent of people with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause. Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to heart disease, blood vessel disease, loss of limbs and blindness.

4. Stop smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk for all kidney-related problems, including heart disease.

5. Exercise regularly. Work with your doctor to create an exercise plan that works for you. Exercising on a regular basis and maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your kidneys healthy.

Get your kidneys checked

Simple urine and blood tests can check your kidney function. Ask your doctor at your next check-up. Catching kidney disease early is key, as you might be able to slow it down with simple lifestyle changes.

If you’re at risk for kidney disease, or it runs in your family, don’t wait – make an appointment to get tested today.

Help us spread the word about kidney disease – join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Our Lakewood center opens its doors, a beautiful new facility to serve Pierce County patients

About the state-of-the-art center

On Oct. 3, 2019, over 100 people came out to celebrate the opening of our new dialysis center in Lakewood, WA. Guests enjoyed tours and refreshments at this beautiful facility. At full capacity, this new 29-station dialysis center will accommodate up to 174 in-center dialysis patients. The center, designed by Botesch, Nash & Hall, was created to be a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment for patients and visitors.

“This new facility reflects our ongoing desire to provide a high quality and beautiful care environment for our patients, all in an effort to enhance their quality of life,” says Harold Kelly, PSKC president and CEO.

The 18,150 square foot facility includes three isolation rooms and a permanent bed for patients who need to lie down during dialysis. The facility will house a specialized training area for home dialysis patients, and the center will host free kidney health education classes for patients and the broader community.

Left: Harold Kelly, president and CEO at PSKC, addresses the crowd at the opening ceremony. Right: Our Lakewood staff are ready to serve our new patients in the area.

Introducing our Lakewood medical director

Dr. Ramon Anel has practiced for over 24 years, specializing in critical care medicine and nephrology. He graduated from the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine and completed his residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Anel currently practices with the Providence Medical Group in Olympia.

Medical directors are an important part of the Puget Sound Kidney Centers team as they are responsible for assuring the safety and quality of care patients receive at each unit. They are also responsible for implementing the quality advancement projects that assure PSKC continues to identify areas for improvement and innovation. In this capacity, Dr. Anel serves along with a team of professionals that include nurses, technicians, renal dietitians and social workers.

“Dr. Anel has been instrumental in introducing PSKC to the Lakewood community,” says Jenni Tyner, director of nursing at PSKC. “We are delighted to partner with him as we serve the dialysis community of Lakewood.”

Welcome, Dr. Anel, and thank you for your leadership.

Puget Sound Kidney Centers has seven dialysis centers in Washington state. See where we’re located and learn more about us. You can even follow us on social media – we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.