It's important to take care of Kidneys as they are your critically important organs. You can do a number of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and keep them as healthy as possible at every stage of life. Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. There are however several easy ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.
- Hydrate, but don't overdo it - It's always a good idea to drink enough water, drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day probably won't help your kidneys do their job any better.
- Eat healthy foods - Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits, but most kidney problems arise out of other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Because of this, he suggests you follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep kidneys in good condition.
- Exercise regularly - If you're healthy, getting your exercise is a good idea because, like healthy eating habits, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. But do be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you're not conditioned. Overexerting yourself when you're not fit and healthy can put a strain on your kidneys, especially if you exercise so much that you cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue.
- Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies - Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor about any vitamins and herbs you plan to take.
- Quit smoking - Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys. When the kidneys don't have adequate blood flow, they can't function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer.
- Don't overdo it when taking over-the-counter medications - Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID's) can cause kidney damage if taken too regularly over a prolonged period. If you have healthy kidneys and use these medicines for occasional pain, they probably don't pose a risk. If you take them for chronic pain or arthritis, you should talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function or finding alternative ways to control your pain.
- If you're at risk, get regular kidney function screening - If you have either diabetes or high blood pressure, your physician should screen for kidney dysfunction as part of routine care for those conditions.
- Keep regular control of your blood sugar level - About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney functions. Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented if detected early. It is important to keep control of blood sugar levels with the help of doctors or pharmacists, who are always happy to help.
- Monitor your blood pressure - Although many people may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, few know that it is also the most common cause of kidney damage. The normal blood pressure level is 120/80. Between this level and 139/89, you are considered prehypertensive and should adopt lifestyle and dietary changes. At 140/90 and above, you should discuss the risks with your doctor and montior your blood pressure level regularly. High blood pressure is especially likely to cause kidney damage when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and Cardio- Vascular Diseases.
- Eat healthy and keep your weight in check - This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease.
- Reduce your salt intake - The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon). In order to reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to food. It will be easier to control your intake if you prepare the food yourself with fresh ingredients. For more information on nutrition and kidney friendly cooking, consult our Dieticians.
The Big Kidney Health Takeaway
Often, your kidneys simply become affected by other medical conditions. The most important thing you can do to keep your kidneys safe is to take care of your body to reduce your chances of developing diseases that put a strain on your kidneys.
"Eat healthily, exercise regularly and control your weight. These healthy practices are not new and definitely not specific to kidney health. Healthy kidneys like a healthy body."