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Steps to keep your kidneys healthier longer

Dr G. M. Bhatt, MD (SKIMS SOURA), DM Nephrology and Kidney Transplant Specialist (PGI) Kolkata, Consultant Nephrologist and Kidney Transplant Specialist

Published: Dec 26, 2022 07:07:25 PM IST
Updated: Dec 26, 2022 08:27:13 PM IST

Steps to keep your kidneys healthier longerYour kidneys are vital organs that filter waste from the blood and produce hormones. Left untreated, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), a form of kidney failure, allows toxins to build up in the body and can lead to other health problems, like heart disease and stroke. It also can progress to end-stage renal disease, which requires dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant to live.

Here are Tips to Follow to Help Keep Your Kidneys Healthy:

Know the signs and symptoms
Unfortunately, the symptoms of kidney disease aren’t always noticeable, and 40% of people with severely reduced kidney function are not aware they have CKD. Therefore, it’s crucial to know whether you might be at risk.

Risk factors of CKD can include the following:
•    Diabetes
•    Obesity
•    High blood pressure
•    Heart disease
•    Age (60 and older)
•    Family history of CKD

Maintain a healthy diet and weight
Research shows that a kidney-friendly diet and regular exercise may help protect your kidneys from the risk factors that can lead to kidney damage. A kidney-healthy diet is low in sodium and carbohydrates and includes lots of fruits and vegetables. If you follow this type of diet consistently, it can help prevent weight gain and avoid obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, which are major risk factors for kidney disease. Additionally, incorporating 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as walking, jogging, and biking, among other activities, as well as drinking plenty of water, can also keep your kidneys healthy. Dehydration reduces blood flow to your kidneys, which can damage them, so make sure to drink enough water throughout the day around eight glasses.

Monitor your diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure. Diabetes is vastly driven by obesity, which can cause high blood pressure and cholesterol. If you are overweight and can lose weight through changes in your diet and activity level, you can significantly reduce your risk of CKD.

Don’t overuse over-the-counter drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a specific group of over-the-counter pain relievers that include ibuprofen and aspirin, which may cause an increased risk of sudden kidney failure and progressive kidney damage. Many common over-the-counter drugs contain certain toxins that affect our kidneys’ ability to filter them, and an excess amount can be dangerous.

Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking too much alcohol can harm many parts of the body, including the kidneys.
The National Kidney Foundation warns that regular heavy drinking affects the kidneys and their function and doubles the risk for kidney disease. Consuming more than three drinks a day for women and more than four drinks a day for men is considered heavy drinking, according to the foundation.

Quit smoking
Smoking tobacco slows the blood flow to important organs, such as the kidneys, and can increase the risk of kidney disease. Smoking can also make medications used to treat high blood pressure less effective, and if poorly controlled, can lead to kidney disease.

Stay hydrated
The most common reason for the formation of kidney problems is a lack of water. Drink plenty of water a day. Water helps flush out the toxins from your body from time to time. So it is recommended to have at least 8 glasses a day and make your kidneys function properly. However, with established kidney disease your doctor will recommend reduced intake of water.

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