Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Steps to keep your kidney healthier

Dr. Abhijeet Kumar, Consultant - Nephrology and Kidney Transplant Medicine, Medanta Hospital, Lucknow

Published: Dec 29, 2022 06:20:31 PM IST

Steps to keep your kidney healthierHydrate, but don’t overdo it
Drinking water is the healthiest and easiest thing you can do to keep your kidneys healthy. One of the key substances your kidneys use to remove waste and toxins from your body is water. The overall opinion is that each person should have eight glasses of water each day. While this is a good baseline, it isn’t a universal rule. How much water your drink depends on a lot of factors like your age, weight, activity level, and any medical conditions you may have.

Despite popular opinion, there is no scientific evidence that excessive water improves kidney function. So, while it's always a good idea to drink enough water, exceeding the recommended four to six glasses per day is unlikely to improve the function of your kidneys.

Do Aerobic exercise to avoid risk for chronic kidney disease
Your kidney health and your cardiovascular health are closely related. Your hearts and blood vessels' health and function directly affect your kidneys' ability to function. On the other hand, anything you do to maintain the health of your heart will be beneficial to the rest of your body.

Exercise that involves aerobic activity is the best approach to improve heart health. These are exercises that you participate in over an extended time like running, swimming, biking, and rowing. Aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and lungs, leading to healthier kidneys.

Check and control your blood sugar
The majority of persons with diabetes are unaware of their condition. Therefore, you need to check your blood sugar level as part of your general body checkup. For people who are older or approaching middle age, this is particularly necessary. Kidney damage affects about 50% of diabetics, but if the disease is under control, it can be avoided or minimized. Check your kidney function regularly with blood and urine tests.

Check and control your blood pressure
Coming to the heart-kidney relation, your kidneys require blood in order to operate properly, much like the rest of your body. They will eventually become harmed if they don't get enough, especially over extended periods of time.

Your blood vessels are put under a lot of stress and can become damaged if your blood pressure is constantly high. Once damaged, they are less effective at moving blood. Despite the fact that high blood pressure can run in families, a healthy diet and lots of activity results in a healthier heart, a healthy weight, and eventually healthy kidneys.

Don’t take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory/pain-killer pills regularly
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and pain killers, such as ibuprofen, can damage the kidneys if taken frequently.

Even a few dosages can damage your kidneys if you have renal disease or reduced kidney function. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned.

Eat a healthy diet
This can help to maintain an ideal body weight, reduce your blood pressure, and prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. Since your kidneys filter waste in your body, what you eat has a big impact on them. There are certain foods that can help your kidneys perform better and others that can cause them damage, especially if your kidneys are already damaged.Foods you should seek out include apples, blueberries, fatty fish, olive oil, radishes, macadamia nuts and skinless chicken.

On the other side of the coin, those with kidney disease need to avoid foods with high levels of phosphorus, sodium and potassium. This means staying away from any pre-packaged or canned foods that are loaded with salt, dark sodas, dairy, and whole wheat bread.

Smoking and alcohol causes kidney damage
Smoking has many harmful side effects, one of which is that the chemicals in cigarettes restrict and harden blood vessels. This makes it more difficult for blood to pass through, increasing blood pressure, risk of heart disease, and damage to your kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it can decrease their ability to function normally. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 per cent.

Too much alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain and de-hydration – conditions bad for the kidneys.

Keep your medicines in check
Take supplements only if they’re prescribed by a doctor or after consultation. Some medications can have contaminants like heavy metals (lead, mercury, etc.) which can get deposited in the kidneys and damage them. Certain painkillers too can lead to kidney necrosis which can lead to kidney failure.

If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening
“If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, your physician should screen for kidney dysfunction as part of routine care for those conditions

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