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Your Kidneys Work Hard – What Can You Do For Them?

Written by Courteney

Posted on March 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Millions of Americans are effected by kidney disease and poor kidney function, but fortunately there are measures you can take to help protect your kidneys against disease.

What Is Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as kidney failure or chronic renal disease, is a condition where your kidneys slowly lose the ability to function. During the more advanced stages of the disease, a sufferer may need a kidney transplant or kidney dialysis to stay alive. CKD affects nearly 26 million Americans, with millions of others at risk of developing it. The main causes of CKD are unchecked, chronically high blood pressure and diabetes.

Symptoms of CKD

Some of the main symptoms of kidney failure are loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, unexplained swelling in ankles or legs, trouble passing urine or passing less urine, fatigue, puffiness around eyes, feeling generally unwell, shortness of breath or extreme itchiness (without allergies). Many of these symptoms are vague and can be attributed to less serious illnesses. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms without cause, you should talk to your doctor (or one of ours) today.

Tips To Help Your Kidneys Fight Disease

While these measures may not fully eliminate your risk of developing kidney disease (or stop progression completely), they will certainly help you protect those vital organs as much as possible. Such measures include:

  1. Moderate your alcohol intake – drinking elevates not only your cholesterol, but also your blood pressure. Drinking too much causes chronically elevated levels which can contribute to kidney failure over time. The CDC defines moderate drinking as 1-2 drinks a day, so for the sake of your kidneys, you’d be best advised to keep your drinking below this cap.
  2. Keep hydrated – don’t make your kidneys work too hard by becoming under-hydrated. Make sure you get the recommended 5-8 glasses of water daily!
  3. Maintain proper nutrition – cutting down on junk and fatty foods and following a balanced, cholesterol-friendly diet (see suggestions below) is the best plan of action to avoid or lessen kidney damage. Another nutrition tip? Drastically cut down on salt intake.
  4. Be cautious of OTC supplements – some herbal supplements have been known to cause issues with the kidneys, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor (or one of DocChat’s highly qualified physicians) before beginning new supplements.
  5. Stay fit and active – getting regular exercise is a great way to help keep the body in tip top condition. It will also help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol to healthier levels, which will subsequently help your kidneys in the long run. Plus, it is a good idea to shed as many extra pounds as you can because obese people run a much higher risk of developing CKD.
  6. Be careful with certain meds – some medications such as NSAIDS (when used frequently) or even long term use of antibiotics can cause kidney problems or exacerbate existing kidney issues, so use caution and talk to your doctor about the risks before starting.
  7. Control potential contributing conditions – If you already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should work to control your condition, or it will lead to major kidney complications if left unmonitored. Over half of diabetics develop kidney damage, so take good care of your condition and hopefully those statistics will start to lower.
  8. Get screened regularly – regular checkups and bloodwork will alert your doctor to any changes or issues with your kidneys, these are especially important if you have kidney disease in your immediate family, if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, if you have to use antibiotics or NSAIDS frequently because of other conditions, or if you have prediabetes or diabetes.
  9. Quit smoking – similarly to other health issues, smoking can cause or exacerbate kidney problems because of the harmful chemicals the body is ingesting. If you are a smoker and are concerned about kidney health, talk to your doctor about ways to quit today.

Diet Dos And Don’ts For Kidney Health 

Foods that will increase your cholesterol are not good choices for kidney health as high cholesterol and blood pressure are among the chief contributors to CKD. Some dos and don’ts for kidney health include:

  • For meatsDo eat: oily fish and baked, grilled or boiled skinless turkey or chicken
  • Don’t eat: fatty meats like sausages or beef dishes
  • For oils and greaseDo use: extra virgin olive oil
  • Don’t use: too much butter, lard or certain oils such as coconut
  • For your dairy share – Do eat: skim milk and reduced fat yogurts
  • Don’t eat: heavy creams or too much hard cheese
  • For sweets – do Eat: fruit like avocado
  • Don’t eat: high-fat, high-sugar baked goods and candy

There you have it – some of the precautions you can take to lower your risk of developing (or worsening) chronic kidney disease. Stay happy and healthy! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

 

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