Kidneys : What You Can Do To Prevent Kidney Disease and Failure?

Every individual has a pair of kidneys measuring about the size of his/her fist. Kidneys are located below the spine which purifies your blood by filtering the impurities. Roughly kidneys filter about 2 quarts of urine daily. Kidney failure followed by death has become common all over the world. One out of 3 Americans are at risk of kidney disease. Major cause of kidney problems is due to uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension. It is very much necessary to keep your kidneys healthy to live long and stay healthy.

Simple Ways To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy :

1. Drink Water

The function of kidneys can be improved by drinking plenty of water. Under normal condition, the color of the urine should be straw or light grey. Any varying urine color indicates you are dehydrated. During hot weather it is necessary to drink plenty of water to keep your body well hydrated. People who sweat profusely should also drink more fluids.

2. Choose Healthy Foods

Include lots of fresh veggies and fruits in your diet. Avoid or restrict fried items and salty items which are not good for kidneys. Watch your calories before eating anything.

3. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is one of the major causes of kidney failure. If you are having hypertension, take your medications regularly and limit the salt intake. Blood pressure is a silent killer since it may not cause any symptoms. Monitor your BP daily and make lifestyle changes as recommended by your physician.

4. Smoking/Drinking

Limit the intake of alcohol and reduce smoking. It is good to quit smoking and drinking for staying healthy but if it is not possible you can limit to 1-2 small drinks a day.

5. Reduce Weight

Obesity poses high risk for kidney problems since it can cause hypertension. Manage your weight and do regular exercises. Stay in the healthy weight line by measuring BMI. Practice workouts and exercise daily to reduce your weight.

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6. Diabetes

High blood sugar for prolonged periods can affect your kidneys significantly. It can damage the filters of the kidneys gradually sending albumin protein into the urine. In due course, the kidneys would not be able to filter waste particles leading to accumulation of extra fluid and waste in the blood causing edema. This would lead to diabetic kidney disease.

7. Avoid Fried Foods and Oil

  • Strictly avoid fried foods since it can significantly increase cholesterol level in blood causing more damage to kidneys. American Heart Association suggests that you are in healthy cholesterol level if
  • Total cholesterol in your body is lesser than 200 mg./dL
  • Good cholesterol or HDL level is above 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women
  • Bad cholesterol or LDL level is lesser than 100 mg/dL
  • Anything beyond this reading poses high risk of BP and diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The best thing you can do to lower cholesterol level is to avoid fried foods and foods with saturated fat and trans fat.
  • Restrict the intake of foods (or simply avoid) like fried items, packaged foods, meat and fat rich dairy products. You can eat plenty of soy foods, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated foods like salmon, tuna, almonds, avocados, and walnuts.

8. Reduce Intake Of Salt

As instructed by your doctor, limit the salt intake in diet. As per the recommendations of FDA, upper salt limit is 2,300 mg per day. You can note that the above reading is only upper safe limit and hence if you wish to stay away from blood pressure you can still reduce the level of salt intake.

Some Of The Symptoms Of Diabetic Kidney Disease Are :

Diabetic kidney disease may not produce any signs initially. The person may not feel sick even when the kidneys function is drastically reduced to one-half. In this stage, urine test is the only way to identify this disease by measuring the level of albumin level. Slowly the body parts like limbs and legs begin to swell due to large volumes of protein in the urine. At this stage, the person may show signs like decreased urine output, fatigue, feeling itchy, dryness of skin, weight loss, loss of appetite, sleep problems, poor concentration, darkening of skin, sickness in stomach with vomiting and muscle cramps.

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Test For Checking Kidney’s Health :

You need not spend hundreds of dollars to know the health of your kidneys. It is enough if you check the urine and blood sample to diagnose kidney disease.

  1. BP – Blood pressure monitoring is one method to identifying whether kidney is in good condition.
  2. Albumin Level – Albumin level in the urine and increased creatinine levels in the urine is indicative of kidney disease. Any reading above 30 is dangerous confirming that you have kidney disease. It is wise to do this simple test at least once a year to check the health of your kidneys.
  3. eGFR Test – In this test, one can measure the quantity of blood the kidneys are able to filter in a minute. Blood sample of the patient is tested in the lab to find the estimated glomerular filtration rate eGFR. Reading of eGFR is 60 and above, is indicative of normal kidney function. A reading of eGFR below 60 shows that the person has kidney disease and if the reading is very low like 15 or even below then it confirms kidney failure. In case the reading is below 60, your doctor may order for other tests for diagnosing the extent of damage to the kidney.

What Can Be Done If You Have Kidney Disease ?

  • Once you are diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease, you can still take efforts to slow down the process and take steps to prevent getting it worse.
  • Monitor the blood glucose level and blood pressure level regularly.
  • Take medications prescribed by your doctor daily and follow the diet strictly.
  • Depending on the situation your doctor may give ACE inhibitors to manage blood pressure.

How To Prevent Kidney Disease ?

  • More than two-thirds of the cases of kidney disease are found to have diabetes or high blood pressure. You can easily prevent kidney disease by avoiding diabetes and BP.
  • Early detection is the key to prevent kidney damage. You need to check for kidney function test at least once a year. Chronic kidney disease can be prevented by knowing the health of your kidneys and by following diet and exercise.
  • You can always slow down the kidney disease by adhering to the rules given by your doctor in taking medications and right diet. In this manner, you can prevent kidney transplant and even dialysis.
  • Diabetes and BP are the risk factors for kidney disease. Take every step to prevent getting these two chronic diseases. If you already have these diseases, then take efforts to keep them in control.
  • Diabetes runs in families and hence you need to check blood sugar levels if your parents or relatives are living in diabetes. Go for regular test and checkups.
  • If any of you have doubts of kidney disease you can rule out by getting simple tests done right away.
  • Urine test can be done to check the level of albumin.
  • Blood pressure can be measured even at home nowadays.
  • Blood glucose test can be done in any lab by taking fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c for knowing average blood sugar.
  • Check the creatinine level in blood which gives clear picture of kidneys function.
  • Consult your physician if any of the test results are abnormal.
  • You will not get kidney disease if you are able to manage BP and diabetes.

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