PrEP Journey: Listening to My Body
I am one of many Americans that are pre-hypertensive, meaning my blood pressure is usually slightly elevated than normal. However, it’s not chronically high to the point that I need medication. For this, I am grateful that I can make choices to make lifestyle changes in my life. However, it’s still tricky.
Creatine levels and kidney function
At my most recent doctor’s appointment, they were really concerned about my creatine level, which to my knowledge is a measure of kidney function, and can be related to high blood pressure.
I had to admit, my eating habits had been off for the few weeks leading up to the doctor’s visit. I noticed that my lips were getting really dry too and that made me remember what another doctor told me once. “Dry Lips means a dehydrated body!” I really hadn’t drunk enough water over the course of those weeks too. My body was working overtime to compensate for my choices and my PrEP nurse was not happy.
PrEP use indications for kidney function
PrEP has some slight indications to affect kidney function over time, so health professionals monitor this pretty closely. In my case, my kidney function was way out of whack at this doctor's visit. It really scared the crap out of me. I made an appointment with a primary care physician just to make sure everything was okay.
Making small changes
So in the days leading up to my appointment, I started to eat better and drink more water. I tried to aim for about 1.5 liters a day and get my diet back on track. By the time I went to the doctor, I was feeling way better. My lips were nice and hydrated because I made some small changes. The doctor gave me a call a few days later with the good news that my lab results came back normal for kidney function.
Nutrition needs for a changing body
Now that I am in my thirties, I am starting to really notice changes in diet and water intake have a real effect on my health. I felt like in my teens and twenties, my body took large amounts of sugar and salt. Now, I know that it is not the case.
Staying properly hydrated
Also, when I am taking other medications that could have an effect on my kidney health, it is important for me to take extra precautions to make sure I’m treating my body right. For me, hydration is something I have to watch carefully. If I did not go through this experience, I would have never known that I had such a sensitivity.
Sadly, it also probably means that I should stay away from large amounts of alcohol, which I’m okay with. I will definitely have a beer or two every once in a while, but it also means drinking more water to compensate.
It's all connected
It is amazing how interconnected the entire human body is. The effects of diet, blood pressure, and kidney issues can all flash a warning sign that something isn’t quite right. If we listen.
I was really happy that my PrEP doctor had been keeping good records of my kidney function and urged me to see my primary care physician. As long as I keep listening to my body, communicating with my doctor, and make the right life choices, I feel like I can always respond to my needs.
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