There’s No Kidney Around When it Comes to This Vital Organ
Your kidneys may only be the size of your fist, but it’s one lean, mean, blood-cleaning machine. And it doesn’t rest there. In addition to removing toxins and excess water from our blood, the kidneys also control blood pressure, produce red blood cells, keep our bones healthy, control the body’s chemical balance and make urine.
If you’re exhausted just reading that list, then you can understand why it’s important your kidneys stay as healthy as possible. To make sure that everyone knows how vital these organs are, March 10th is celebrated as World Kidney Day with the aim of reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease. This year’s focus is on obesity, which increases the risk of developing kidney disease by as much as 83 percent.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the loss of kidney function over time, to a point where the organ will no longer be able to do its job. The results can be life threatening, which is why we all need to engage in preventative behaviors. For those with diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension), the need is even greater and regular screenings are a must.
You can show your kidneys some love by…
- Staying fit and active, as easy as a 30-minute walk a few times a week.
- Monitoring your blood pressure.
- Controlling blood sugar levels—50 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney damage.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight by eating nutritiously, reducing salt intake and avoiding processed foods.
- Drinking plenty of fluids, at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
- Avoiding overuse of over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen.
- Quitting smoking.
Early CKD often has no signs; in fact, you can lose up to 90 percent of kidney function with no symptoms. While it cannot be reversed, CKD can be slowed and even stopped with proper diet and medication, so talk to your PCP about your individual risk factors and whether or not you should be screened.